These fried doughnuts shouldn’t need an introduction. Their crisp airy outsides and egg-y, chewy insides are distinct, with a generous amount of powdered sugar dusted on top. No need to wait for these to rise, either. Just mix up a choux pastry with a bit of extra flour, chill, and fry for doughnut delight.
Summer is the season of birthdays in our house. We have one celebration a month for six months straight. Often we rely on a good, ol’ ice cream cake for these occasions with a cookie crust and little pomp and circumstance. I mean, it is summer, after all.
However, sometimes we up our game with fresh fried beignets.
I have a choux pastry addiction. Something about the puffed balls, reminiscent of popovers but filled with any manner of pastry cream, whipped cream, savory cheeses, or simply on their own with a sprinkle of hard cheese over the top and a dash of sea salt makes me smile. Often I double my batch of dough so I can make extra treats for the next day.
While many restaurants now favor a yeast dough for their beignets, making them out of some fortified choux dough (a bit of extra flour for stability) means I can make the dough ahead of time and have fresh doughnuts without a proofing wait time in the morning. Alternatively, I can pull the dough out at a moment’s notice for a special treat to entertain neighbors or dinner guests. My dough is ready to fry by the time the coffee is brewing, and it’s ready to eat just as the last person pours their cup and stirs in their cream.
Pâte à Choux No-Rise Beignets
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Oil for frying (peanut oil, palm oil, canola)
- Powdered sugar for topping
- In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter, sugar and salt over medium-high heat until the butter melts and the mixture boils, stirring frequently.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add in all of the flour at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour in. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms one mass.
- Remove the pan from the burners and stir in one egg at a time. Completely incorporate the egg before adding the next. Stir until the dough becomes smooth and silken.
- Cover the batter and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour or until completely chilled. The batter can be made ahead and stored overnight in the refrigerator.
- When ready to fry, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a tall-sided pan or fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavily flour your work surface and place half the dough in a ball on top of it. Flour the top of the dough and roll into a half-inch sheet. Cut into squares, 2 incheslong.
- Tap excess flour off the dough before frying. Fry for 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and puffed, turning once, for a total of 10 to 12 minutes. Remove doughnuts from the oil and drain on a paper-lined cooling rack.
- Sprinkle warm doughnuts liberally with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Makes 14 beignets.
Note: You can also make these by dropping spoonfuls of dough into the oil for a more freeform shape.