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.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites with a pinch of sugar until frothy.
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!
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.
Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil. Dip the beignets in the cinnamon sugar mixture before they cool completely.
Repeat this process for the remainder of the mixture.
Eat these while they’re still fresh. THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!