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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Heavenly Beignets #FoodieReads

After reading Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn, I was inspired to share my process for beignets.



On the Page

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn was a really fun read; I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in a single sitting. Four female assassins - who have been a well-honed kill team for four decades - are on the verge of retiring. During their retirement cruise, they recognize a younger assassin and realize that they themselves are the target of their own organization, nicknamed The Museum. This is kill or be killed story where they don't know who to trust as they race to neutralize the kill order against them.


On the Plate

Given that Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have traipsed all over the world for the past forty years, they have a lot of exposure and experience with global cuisine.


They bickered over food semantics: "She went to put the attaché case down on Mary Alice’s bed. 'I hate people like her. Talking to us like we’re toddlers.' Her voice rose in perfect mimicry. 'You’re missing a swell dinner. Rice pudding for dessert!' 'She said it was a very lovely rose petal congee,' I reminded her. 'I don’t care what she calls it. It’s rice pudding'."


They were protective of their Vietnamese food. "Mary Alice...grabbed one of Helen’s spring rolls to dunk in her beef broth. She eyed my food and I put a protective hand over the container. 'Touch my bún cha and you’ll draw back a bloody stump,' I warned her as I scooped up another pork patty."


But what sent me into the kitchen was a funny passage about some heavenly beignets!


“I think I just ovulated,” Natalie said as she lifted the first beignet. She bit into the warm dough with a low moan, puffing powdered sugar into the air. “Heaven.” I shrugged out of my jacket and tossed my cap onto the table. “Beignets in New Orleans is a cliché but it’s a good one.”


These are not the typical square beignets of New Orleans' famous Café Du Monde. We have found it easier to just use a scoop to form them. They are amazing regardless of their shape.


Ingredients

makes approximately 2 dozen larger than bite-sized beignets


  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 3 cup flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla salt (use regular salt if you don't have any vanilla salt)

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoon pure almond extract (use vanilla extract if you prefer)

  • pinch of cinnamon

  • canola oil for frying + 2 Tablespoons for dough

  • powdered sugar for serving


Procedure

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 Tablespoon sugar and warm water. Sprinkle yeast on the top and let stand until bubbly and frothy, approximately 5 minutes.


In another mixing bowl, stir together 2 Tablespoons sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla salt.


After the yeast has bloomed, whisk in eggs, almond extract, and 2 Tablespoons oil. As you whisk, incorporated the dry ingredients until the dough comes together in a ball. Place in an oiled container, cover, and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.


When you're read to cook, fill a skillet with at least an inch of canola oil covering the bottom of the pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it sizzles when you add a drop of water. Pull off bite-sized pieces - or use two tablespoons to pull off the pieces - and drop them into the hot oil.


Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Once nicely browned, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined platter or wire rack.



Dust the beignets generously with powdered sugar and serve immediately.


I am adding these to the July #FoodieReads link-up.

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