Beignets – Donuts / Doughnuts (from C’est la Vie Cuisine, 2013)
For the second recipe of my semaine de terribly naughty treats, I have chosen a recipe shared by the delicious (at least by reputation) C’est la Vie Cuisine. The moment I saw this post, I knew I had to get my (oven) mitts on these French donuts.
“Beignet” means “bump” in French. That’s probably a reference to the large bump that will grow on your belly if you eat a few of them, for they are made of all things sinful: eggs, sugar, butter and rum included… DEEP FRIED. You are definitely going to hell. (Matt Groening of The Simpsons and Futurama fame said of the donut: “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?” Yes Matt, there is something; they can’t make you thin.)
But beignets are at least the more petite, more refined older sister of the donut. They’re smaller, they’re not pumped with jam or cream, or smothered in chocolate or glaze, just lightly dusted with icing sugar.
I was more than a little apprehensive at the thinness of the paste once rolled out and ready for deep frying, sceptical that the little flat triangles would puff up into springy beignets. I’ve never actually used baking powder before (I told you I was a complete amateur at cooking), but now I understand that this releases carbon dioxide and creates air bubbles, turning a flat pastry triangle into a lusciously light and springy donut (pic 3). You have to love science all the more when science hands you a plate of devilish mouthfuls of delight.
Super simple and with ingredients you most likely have knocking about your kitchen and alcohol stash, you can knock these up in just a few minutes, so you get to spend more time with your feet up eating them. Now that’s what I call a treat.
75g unsalted butter / pinch salt / 2 tbsp caster sugar / ½ tsp vanilla extract / ½ tsp rum / 2 eggs / 1.5 tbsp crème fraîche / 250g plain flour / 2 tsp baking powder / 1 litre vegetable oil / kitchen roll
Melt butter & cool / Mix butter with salt, sugar, vanilla & rum (pic 2) / Mix in crème fraîche & eggs / Add baking powder & use hand to mix in flour to create a smooth-not-sticky dough / Start heating oil in large deep pan / Split dough into 2 balls / Flour surface & pin then roll out both balls to 3-4mm thick / Cut into small shapes like triangles / Pop into the hot oil for a few seconds until golden underneath & turn to do same on other side / Remove onto kitchen roll to soak up excess oil / Dust with icing sugar (pic 1)