French Quarter Beignets
"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
It's Mardi Gras Time... you ready to party!!
Once –In my "Hot Young Days"-I dated a guy from New Orleans (he called me“Cher”). He was tall and gentlemanly and just everything that I (at the time) thought would be prefect in a husband. We dated for a while… and one day he told me that we were going to see his mama. So we made plans to take a road trip to the N.O and the events that played out during that excursion I will save for another time. But I was soooo excited- so much so... I called my mama and told her where I was going and that –you know- it could only mean one thing- I was getting married soon, and I started going on and on about my dress and the cake for the wedding when my mama said- “Honey, slow down- isn’t it like an 8 hour trip-maybe he just needs you to help him drive” Harsh-but it brought me back to reality.
Anyway- during the trip down T.J (Thomas James- that was his name) told me all about “Mama Dee” (his mama) and how she could cook anything and she made the best gumbo and Blah-Blah-Blah. I was excited and happy- until we pulled up to the house and Mama Dee ran out to hug her son and looked over at me with this sneer and made some comments in a low voice about a “Fille”
We stayed and I met all of his Cousins and Aunts and Uncles. But Mama Dee kept her distance from me- she also asked me to call her “Mrs. Dee” (which I thought was strange because everyone else was calling her Mama Dee-why not me) Anyway- the best thing was the food.. It was Heaven… then she brought out some “Beignets” that were out of this world.. I remember asking for the recipe. The response.”Hupmh!!! and she walked away. Well T.J and I eventually parted ways but still remain friends.. he's married with kids now and every time me and the fam go down to "Nawlins"- we get together. Once- I told his wife Janet this story and she looked and me with a stunned expression and told me how onetime her and Mama Dee were in the kitchen and she was trying to learn how to make her pecan pie.. Janet told me she said cooking just ain’t her thing and Mama Dee turned to her and said “Humph, at least the last “jolie fille” wanted to learn how to cook”. Guess who that was.. ;) So here is my recipe for French Quarter Beignets… Take that Mama Dee…
1 ½ cups of lukewarm water
½ cup of granulated sugar
1 envelope of active dry yeast
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 ¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour (now this recipe make a lot of dough-feel free to cut back the portation)
¼ cup shortening
Non stick spray
Oil for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour.
Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray.
Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners' sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.
Dear Lord... Give me bread..then fry it in grease... then add sugar... Amen..