Although the celebration of Mardi Gras, or “fat Tuesday,” in Overland Park certainly doesn’t compare with the parade and partying going on in New Orleans today, we can still enjoy a bit of the Big Easy’s food. Beignets are served at many cafes and restaurants throughout the French Quarter. The name comes from the French word for “fritter” and the yeast dough produces something similar to a doughnut.
Usually deep-fried, the dough will form hollow pockets and the outside will be crisp. This recipe calls for baking the beignets for a lower-fat pastry that is closer to a biscuit. Dusted with powdered sugar and dipped into maple syrup, or dunked in coffee, the most important thing is to eat them while they are warm. You’ll be able to store them for a few days re-heat in the microwave.
Stop by the Whole Foods Market on Metcalf today around 2PM for their indoor parade and see what Mardi Gras dishes they’ll be offering on the hot bar.
- 1/4 cup warm water, 100° to 110°
- 1 envelope quick-rising yeast
- 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into very small pieces
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting baked beignets
- Proof yeast in the warm water with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar stirred into water. Let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy. See my article on working with yeast if you want more tips.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ¼ cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add pieces of cold butter, cutting into dry ingredients until mixture resembles fine crumbs. A food processor works very well to cut in the butter but you can do it by hand with a pastry blender or two knives.
- Stir buttermilk and egg into flour/butter mixture until combined. Add yeast and incorporate until thoroughly mixed and a soft dough forms.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead several times until dough is smooth. Butter mixing bowl or spray with cooking spray and place dough in bowl, covering with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- On floured surface, roll dough into a square measuring about 9”x9”. Mark dough at 1 ½” intervals and cut into 6 strips and each strip into 6 pieces. Transfer dough pieces to greased cookie sheets, spacing about 1½” apart. Cover beignets with wrap and let rise 20 minutes in a warm spot. After about 15 minutes, preheat oven to 400°F and grease two baking sheets.
- Remove plastic wrap from beignets and bake in 400° oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks and dust beignets with powdered sugar before they cool. Serve with warm maple syrup or heated chocolate sauce.
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