Hope you all did something fun for Carnival. I’m actually really jealous because my sister went to New Orleans for the festive Mardi Gras weekend. She called me Sunday morning to tell me how much fun she was having in New Orleans on her way to breakfast. I’ve never been to New Orleans so I got completely absorbed in her narrative of the night before: parades, beads, hundreds of people, hurricanes (the drink) and the simple breakfast hangover cure. Breakfast in this glorious city consists of beignets and coffee.
I needed to get in on the action. I longed to be with my sister and I definitely wished to join her for a beignet breakfast. The moment I got off the phone with her I was determined to make them. Had I ever made beignets before? Nope. I google searched some recipes. One for a traditional beignet dough and another for a lemon curd. In my experience lemon curd has been a common accompaniment to beignets. So here are my two recipes. For the beignets I used Tyler Florence’s recipe on The Food Network website and for the lemon curd I used The Joy of Baking recipe. I liked using The Joy of Baking blog because there was a video to help show how to make the curd properly. I don’t consider myself much of a baker so this was crucial to my success.
Okay, so let’s get to it! First make the dough.
Roll it up in a ball, then place the dough in a large bowl that has been greased with butter. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, dark place for about 4 hours. While waiting for the dough to rise, get started on your lemon curd.
The lemon curd is a lot easier than it might look. I was super intimidated to make it myself but fear not baking novices such as myself, you will find success! Trust me. There are relatively few ingredients needed to make this rich and tart curd. All you need is lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, butter and eggs.
Mix the lemon juice, eggs and sugar. Place the mixture in a double boiler and begin stirring. Stir and stir and stir some more. You may feel like your arm is going to fall off but keep on stirring, it is worth it I promise.
Stir the mixture until it reaches the consistency of hollandaise sauce.
Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, take it off the double boiler and add the lemon zest.
Stir the lemon curd until all the butter is incorporated and then cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is touching the top of the lemon curd, this stops a skin from forming on top.
Now place the curd on the counter until it cools completely then place in the refrigerator. The lemon curd can last for up to a week in the fridge so this can be made ahead of time if you’d prefer. At this point you can take a run, read a book, take a nap or just veg in front of the tv until it is time to grab that dough and start frying up some beignets.
Take the dough, that has now doubled in size, and roll it out.
Now depending on what size and shape you like your beignets there are several methods for rolling out the dough. If you’re looking for pretty round beignets, almost resembling a doughnut hole, I recommend using a melon baller to scoop out perfect spherical dough shapes. I decided to make my beignets in a square fashion but also in a small 2 bite size.
These guys do puff up while frying so I would recommend cutting the dough to the size of a silver dollar. Get some vegetable oil about 3 inches deep in a sauce pan to about 350 degrees and then start frying.
You want for there to be those big bubbles. Don’t forget to place the dough in gently, the last thing anyone wants is piping hot oil flying everywhere.
You’ll know the dough is ready to be flipped when they get brown around the edges, like above. For these tiny guys this might only take about 45 seconds.
Once you’ve cooked both sides of the beignets, remove from the oil and let cool either on a cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels.
When you’re ready to serve, which should be immediately for the freshest taste, top with powdered sugar and plate with a dollop of the lemon curd.
I snuck one in before plating.
Oh man, oh man. After eating about 20 of these I felt like I could have been in New Orleans celebrating Mardi Gras with my sister.