These yummy little French fritters are found anywhere in New Orleans and for very good reason: they are unbelievably delicious. Beignets are made from a deep fried choux paste, which is dough made from yeast, flour, sugar, eggs, butter and evaporated milk. You can not go to New Orleans as often, but you can certainly make your own Beignets any time you want to. Now, the secret to these is cold fermentation. The best thing you can do as a home baker, leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight instead of letting it rise in a warm place. This process slows down the yeast development, while still allowing the enzymes that naturally occur in the flour to do their work (converting starches to sugars). It makes the dough more flavourful and very delicate. I encourage you to give it a try. I use the same approach when I make Brioche Loaf and, oh my, it tastes like heaven and very easy to make. I will be posting the recipe to it shortly.
Start by mixing warm water, salt and yeast in a small bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes. In a separate large bowl whisk together eggs and vanilla extract with sugar. Add evaporated milk and yeast mixture, and blend well. Using spatula, mix in half of the flour, then add butter and stir well, then add the rest of the flour and gently finish kneading the dough with your hands for about 5 minutes. At this point, you should have thick and a little bit sticky dough. Cover and leave it overnight (or at least 7-8 hours) in the refrigerator.
Use a little bit of flour to sprinkle on top of the dough just enough so it doesn’t stick to the work surface or rolling pin. On floured surface, roll the dough into 1 cm thick disk. Cut into squares using pizza roller. Reroll the rest of the dough, be very careful and do not overwork the dough, just gently fold it.
Place in oil (preheated to 360 degree) and fry until golden brown for 2-3 minutes.
Drain well on paper towel, let it cool a little bit and sprinkle confectioner sugar on top.
Serve warm. Enjoy!