Why am I being so mean to this delicious lightweight pastry I’ve created? Because it’s the Frankenstein of beignets!

I always enjoy a good dig into the origin story of pastries and foods and this time I dove into the history of beignets.I call these sourdough beignets a bastard version as the very idea of a beignet being a sourdough is rather blasphemous.

Traditionally in France beignets belong to pastries made with a pâte à choux. You may recognize this dough in the form of an eclair or profiterole. One of the key factors in what is amazing about pâte à choux is that the airy hollow centers are derived by steam, not yeast.

When the beignet rose up (hehe) in heavenly NOLA it’s backstory came with yeast in its pocket. This change from steam risen to yeast-risen already makes the Louisiana version less authentic.

In my kitchen, I have pulled the beignets even further from their origin and added the shame of sourdough starter to them! I almost didn’t post this. I almost burned the recipe. If it weren’t for the fact that they were absolutely dreamy and orgasmic I would never have shared this recipe. So I am sorry to the beignet gods, but here it is…

Yield: 3 dozen (aka a whole flippin’ lot!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (221g) warm water warmed to 90-100°F
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 eggs, room temp., beaten lightly
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (250g) evaporated milk, warmed to 90-100°F
  • 1 cup (235g) sourdough starter
  • 6 ⅛ cups (827g) bread flour, or all-purpose
  • ¼ cup butter, very soft
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, to dust/ roll
  • Oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let this sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Place your egg and salt in the (stand) mixing bowl. Gradually add ⅓ cup of the warm evaporated milk, whisking gently, but constant to temper* your eggs. Gradually add the remaining evaporated milk.
  3. Add your yeast mixture and half of the flour. With the paddle attachment (or sturdy wooden spoon) mix on low. Turning the mixer to medium-low until it’s all combined.
  4. Add the butter and remaining flour and mix on low, then to medium-low until it’s all combined and the batter holds together like thick cake batter.
  5. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.
  6. At this point** you can allow the dough to rise all night in the fridge, or fry up today.
  7. After the dough has risen roll it out onto a floury surface to ¼ inch thick.
  8. Dust the dough with flour on both sides and cut into 1-inch squares. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes – 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, in a deep saucepan bring your oil to 350°F. This is the ideal temperature to fry in. Otherwise, the dough may sit too long and hold oil, or it will burn and be raw.
  10. Prepare a medium-sized bowl with the powdered sugar. And set it near your fry station.
  11. Once the dough has rested and risen some carefully plunge them into the heated oil, putting in only as many as you want to handle at a time.
  12. Check the bottom of the frying dough for a golden brown color, about 2-4 minutes, and then flip over to brown on the other side.
  13. Once both sides are golden brown pop them right into the powdered sugar and shake the bowl to coat the beignet. Remove from bowl and place on serving dish.
  14. Continue to fry up the remaining squares and coat them with powdered sugar.
  15. I recommend eating them as soon as you can without burning your mouth!

*Why Temper: Tempering means to bring something to temperature and in this case room-temperature eggs to warm milk. By whisking constantly and adding a little of the warm liquid at a time you avoid scrambling your eggs.**What Now: If your fridge, allow the dough more than enough time to come back to room temperature before frying. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to a week. Keep in mind the sourdough flavor will become more intense! You can also freeze the dough for 3 months.