There are probably a list of things I shouldn’t be allowed to do without adult supervision:
- Play with matches
- Go to the grocery store (I inevitably buy way more than originally intended)
- Okay, anything involving fire
After making these beignets, we should probably add deep frying to this list.
I fell in love with beignets after having them at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans back in April. I even bought a box of the official Cafe du Monde beignet mix with the intent of having beignets and hot chocolate every Sunday morning. That didn’t really pan out. In fact, I only used the mix once. Although the beignets turned out good, they didn’t have the same puffy, yet tender texture as the ones I’d had in New Orleans. So when I saw the recipe for beignets in (every body roll their eyes as I mention my absolute favorite book) Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I decided to use some of the leftover Challah dough as a lark. It was easy enough to roll out the dough and cut it into squares with a pizza roller. This wasn’t the hard part…that came when I decided to heat up oil unsupervised.
I dutifully pulled out my candy thermometer, clipped it to the edge of a stock pot and turned on the heat. Awesome thing about this candy thermometer? It actually tells you on the thermometer at which temperature different things are appropriate (i.e. above 300 degrees, it’s marked as “Deep Frying”). So handy, huh? Yeah, still didn’t help. I poured an entire 48 ounce bottle of Crisco vegetable oil into the stock pot and waited for the temperature to reach “Deep Frying”.
By the time I dropped in the first square of dough into the heated up oil, I sensed trouble. Within three minutes, my apartment was smokier than a Speak Easy in the swamps of Georgia. So what do I do? Oh, I just opened up the window and my door and kept on truckin’. Not such a good idea considering by the time I finished, I could barely see my hand in front of my face. The oil must have been too hot because the beignets burned wayyyy too easily. In a panic, I lowered the heat and waited for the oil to cool a bit. Eventually I got the temperature to a point where the beignets didn’t immediately burn. But they still came out a bit darker than I’m sure they were meant to be.
Despite the “blackened” nature of the beignets, they turned out great! The challah dough lent itself well to deep frying, resulting in that puffy yet tender and flaky texture I remembered from New Orleans. Sure I smoked up my apartment and my clothes, but I got a great beignet out of it! Now what else can I deep fry around here???