BeignetsLike many of the distinctive dishes in Louisiana's culinary storehouse, Beignets were brought with the Acadians from France by way of Canada in the mid-1700s. The original fried fritters have given way to this fried pastry covered in confectioner's sugar we know today.
I freely acknowledge that my brother is the family master at making these and, moreover, you can hardly do better than ordering the ready-made beignet mix from Cafe du Monde. The restaurant is a New Orleans institution and eating there remains one of my fondest memories of the city.
So if you have contrived to get a plateful of authentic Louisiana-style beignets either by visiting or by cooking them yourself, never forget the first rule of eating these joyous little delights - don't breath when you eat them.
Proof the yeast
Scald the milk and stir in the sugar, salt and shortening. Cook until it reaches the 105 to 115 degree range.
Combine the milk mixture, egg, and 2 cups flour to the yeast mixture, mix well. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise about 1 hour, or until doubled.
Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 12" x 10" rectangle; cut into 2" squares. Place on a floured surface; cover and let rise in a warm place 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Heat 3" to 4" of oil in a deep heavy pan to 375 degrees; drop in 3 to 4 beignets at a
time. Cook 1 minute on each side or until puffed up and golden. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.
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