There are some things that you should never feel bad about.
Sleeping in on a Saturday. Facials. 10 more minutes of screen time to finish a task kid-free. And donuts for breakfast (or as an afternoon snack or dessert), especially when they have a sophisticated name like beignets.
Miss G and I have been obsessed with beignets for years now, ever since her first viewing of Princess & the Frog and how scrumptious they made the traditional donuts look and sound.
We even journeyed all the way to the Port Orleans restaurant on both of our recent Disney vacations just for those famous beignets – and they were definitely worth the 2 hour excursion!
(Why yes, that’s a Tiana the Waitress dress we had specially made for our trip – do you now understand the level of our obsession? She was sooo excited to taste her first beignet. Oh, and the blue make-up around Miss G’s eyes is what she didn’t manage to wipe off after we did the Pirate League Mermaid Make-over – I’ll share our review of that soon!)
Beignets should be perfectly golden and crisp on the outside, giving way to a chewy and airy inside.
Traditionally, they are sprinkled with powdered sugar but Miss G also likes hers with a swirl of honey like Tiana makes them in the movie. You can also stuff them with fruit or use a pastry injector to add custard or jam to the inside.
Now that we’ve perfected our own recipe (slightly adapted from John Besh’s cookbook, My New Orleans) we can revisit those favorite memories whenever we want – although this recipe is a bit time-consuming and makes A LOT of beignets, so it’s still a special occasion treat for us.
(I would say it makes about 30 beignets – so it’s great for making for guests or a big family brunch or when having a few friends over for a playdate.)
If you’re not an early riser like me, be sure to start the dough the night before and let it rise overnight in the fridge.
Serve it with a cafe au lait (even better if you use Cafe du Monde coffee) and in the traditional set of three, and you’re in for a delicious and decadent morning.
Ingredients for Beignets
- 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 7 cups bread flour (regular flour is okay but will be less chewy)
- 6+ cups oil, for deep-frying
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Tip: This recipe makes a LOT of beignets – approximately 30. You can reduce the ingredients by half, if desired.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Rolling pin
- Cutting board
- Large stock pot or dutch oven (for frying)
- Tongs or frier spatula
How to Make Beignets
Mix warm water, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
When the yeast has bubbled and made the water completely frothy, add in the eggs, salt and milk and whisk well.
Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the shortening, and melt the rest with the boiling water and set aside for a moment.
Add 3 cups of the bread flour to the yeast mixture and stir thoroughly.
Next add the melted shortening and stir well.
Add 3 cups of flour, and slowly add the final (7th) cup as you stir or knead to ensure you don’t dry out the dough.
Dust a cutting board with flour and fold the dough onto the cutting board.
Knead for about 3-5 minutes until smooth, adding tiny amounts of flour to stop the dough from sticking.
Grease the large mixing bowl with the reserved tablespoon of shortening and return the dough to the bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours – or pop it in the fridge overnight to rise.
When ready to cook, ensure the dough has been at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Place oil in a deep fryer or dutch over over medium-high heat.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into 3-inch squares, rectangles or triangles.
Deep-fry 3-4 at a time for about 5-7 minutes, flipping to prevent burning, until they reach a golden colour.
Remove to a plate lined with paper towels for a few minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar while still hot.
Enjoy warm or cold – I like to eat one super hot, just after frying, but keep in mind that hot oil may still be on or in the donuts just after making them so don’t serve them hot to the kids.
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Do you celebrate Mardi Gras or have a fondness for cajun cuisine? Will you be trying out our easy & authentic beignets recipe?