I did tell you, didn’t I, that it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get me to sit down to a feast? There’s no doubt in my mind that you know by now how much of a glut I am. Well…, that’s going to change. Yeah, sad, isn’t it?
Okay, it’s really not that bad, it’s only for the next 40 days or so, during Lent. And only because I have kids who are giving up sweets and hubby who is giving up soda. When they asked, I told them I was giving up…uhm…fish!
I was joking, of course. If anything, I’ll be adding more fish to my diet during Lent. Now, that is a sacrifice on my part, since I’m not a big fan of fish. Anyway, the plan is to eat less every day, avoiding too much of gluttony and indulgence, that’s all. I won’t be starving myself, if that’s what you are thinking. I’m just limiting my portion.
Maybe I should be giving up french fries as well, my #1 vice and all-time “most favoritest” food. That would probably be an excellent idea, not only for health reasons, but it could be enlightening to exercise restraint every now and then. Has any of you seen the haunting images coming out of Syria? Where a mass of people flooded the streets just to get their hands on a little something to eat? Made me realize how fortunate I really am. Not eating is a choice for me, but not for those poor destitute people.
But I have one more day to indulge before Lent begins. So, today I’ll eat my fill of beignets. How is everyone else celebrating Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday?
Beignets are essentially doughnuts, except they are rectangular puffy “pillows.” They are my favorite Mardi Gras breakfast or snack, but you don’t have to wait until Mardi Gras to enjoy them. And you don’t have to stick to the traditional rectangular shape, either. Make them any shape you like, just like what I did here. The balls are my favorite. So fun to snack on.
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup + 1 tsp. sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Oil for deep-frying
Powdered sugar for dusting
1. In your stand mixer bowl, mix together water, yeast, and 1 tsp. sugar. Whisk to dissolve sugar and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof the yeast.
2. Once yeast bubbles, add egg, butter, and milk. Stir to combine.
3. Mix flour, salt, and the rest of the sugar.
4. Add flour mixture 1 cup at a time to the yeast mixture, and start mixing, using the dough hook attachment.
5. Continue to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
6. Remove dough from bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least for 3-4 hours. You can leave it overnight.
7. Once dough is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into squares or rectangles or any desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a cloth and set aside while you heat the oil.
8. In a deep heavy saucepan or a fryer, heat the oil until it reaches 360-375°F. Working in batches, fry the beignets for 1-2 minutes on each side, until puffed and golden brown.
9. Drain beignets on a plate lined with paper towel. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.