Pear + Lemon Beignets

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In honor of Mardi Gras, I thought it would be fun to learn how to make beignets;  a deep-fried staple of New Orleans/Creole cooking that originated in France.  They’re just like doughnuts without a hole!

Be warned, this is a weekend recipe attempt if I’ve ever seen one.  These messy little fritters are fussy and require a bit of concentration, but the results are well-worth the extra effort.  Plus you get to dip them in cinnamon + sugar, so how can you possibly say no?

What will you need?

2 large firm-ripe pears (peeled, cored and finely diced)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp fresh lemon zest

1.5 cups granulated sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 large egg whites

1 cup milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups canola oil

How do you make it?

For the batter:

In a small bowl, combined the chopped pears, ground ginger, lemon zest, 1 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

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In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites with a pinch of sugar until frothy.

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In another medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Fold in the flour until slightly smooth. Fold in the frothy egg white mixture and your pears… then the batter is ready!

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Combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl and set to the side.  You are going to use this later to dip the beignets in.

To make the beignets:

In a small cast-iron skillet, heat about 3/4 inch of oil to 350 degrees (using a candy thermometer to watch the heat). Add about 4 or 5 separate spoonfuls of mixture to the hot oil.  Fry for about 30 seconds on one side and use a slotted spoon to flip over and continue to cook to a light-golden color.

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Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil.  Dip the beignets in the cinnamon  sugar mixture before they cool completely.

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Repeat this process for the remainder of the  mixture.

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Eat these while they’re still fresh.  THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!

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  1. My old next door neighbors were originally from New Orleans, and the mother made me my own batch of beignets for Mardi Gras! I felt so spoiled that holiday, and I ate every single beignet in one sitting… Good thing Mardi Gras only comes once a year!


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