The beignet, Louisiana's State doughnut, was first introduced to Louisiana by the Acadians. Early beignets were fried fritters, sometimes filled with fruit. Today, the beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are best when freshly made and served hot.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for frying
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling: butter will melt. Quickly add flour all at once; beat with wooden spoon until flour is moistened. Cook over medium heat, beating vigorously until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, shiny and satiny and forms strands that break apart. It should hold its shape when beater is slowly raised. Beat in vanilla. Dough should be fairly stiff.
- Roll dough 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface, using flour liberally on dough. Cut into 2-inch squares.
- In electric skillet or large, heavy skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil to 370°F (185°C) on deep frying thermometer.
- Fry 3 or 4 at a time until puffy and golden brown on both sides (do not crowd skillet). Remove beignets with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; transfer to a wire rack. While hot, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Keep warm in 225°F (105°C) oven as you continue frying the remainder.
- Serve hot, preferably with a piping hot cup of cafe au lait!
Makes 18 to 24 beignets.