Sunday, November 22, 2009

B is for Bacon Beignets

I'm not from New Orleans. In fact, I've never even been there. The closest I've come to this tasty treat was at sleepovers with one of my friends in elementary school. In the mornings, her mom would let us make "doughnuts" out of Pillsbury biscuit dough, deep fried, then covered with cinnamon and sugar. (If you don't have time to do a real dough, I bet that would still taste pretty darn good.)

The biggest inspiration for this recipe (besides, as always, King Bacon) were the crawfish beignets at Alligator Soul in Everett, Washington. Recipe guidance came mostly from here and a little from here, with some frying oil advice here, since I don't fry stuff very often.

Here's What I Did:
1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast

3/4 Cup Water (110 degrees F)

1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt
1 Beaten Egg

1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk

3 1/2 – 3 3/4 Cups Flour
4-6 slices of bacon

1/8 Cup Shortening

Vegetable Oil for Frying

Powdered Sugar

1) Fry the bacon until crispy. Drain and set aside.

2) Combine the Yeast, Water, and Sugar in a food processor,

3) Let this sit until frothy, about 5 minutes,

4) Add the Salt, Egg, and Evaporated Milk and mix on low speed,

5) Add half of the flour and mix until it starts to come together,

6) Add the shortening and bacon. Mix.

7) When the shortening and bacon are incorporated, start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated.

8) Add just enough flour to make a non-sticky, smooth dough.

9) Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise
NOTE: The original recipe had the following statement "I made mine last night and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator." I did not have good luck with that method and had to do an emergency dough recovery. More on that below.

10) After the dough has doubled in bulk, (3-ish hours) punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface

11) Roll out to about 1/2″ thick.

12) Cut out with cookie cutters. (I used a ghost, an autumn leaf and a snowflake. Apparently diamonds, rectangles and circles are more traditional.)

13) Place the Beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place (I put them in a barely warm oven. Preheat to 200 for 2 minutes, then turn the heat off and shove the dough in.)

14) When the Beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 350-360 degrees.

15) Place 2-4 Beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them.

16) When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side (This goes VERY quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil).

17) Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain.

18) Serve hot topped with plenty of powdered sugar

The original recipe says this makes about 2 dozen. I got about that out of it, maybe a little more; I think I was making them smaller.

How'd it go?
Great. Fried dough is just a tasty tasty thing. The bacon fit in nicely, no big surprise there.

I made 7 yesterday which were fried and eaten and then another 20-25ish I pre cut and put into the freezer; supposedly I'll be able to thaw and fry them later in little batches. We'll see how that goes.

What would I change:

- Well, I don't think i'll ever try to get dough to rise in the refrigerator again. As I said yesterday, I awoke to non-risen dough. The save that worked was placing the dough in a barely warmed over for awhile (Preheat to 200 for 2 minutes, then turn the heat off and shove the dough in). Thank you, friendly bakers of the interweb!

- I would use more bacon. There's some in every pastry, but I would like more for even more bacony flavor.

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