Cooking Classes


NOLAs Beignets and Cherry Rolls with a side of Apple Fritters

It's a trifecta of coffee time treats today and the winner is beignets. I have been longing for beignets and finally I gathered my courage to make them. As with so many times in life, it wasn't that difficult. They worked first time. If I can make them, so can you. 

Perhaps it is the fear of a vat of oil. No, I'm not afraid of hot oil, only oil. I don't like the picture inside my head of me consuming all that oil.  Add in the pillowy softness of the beignet and sweet powdered sugar and all those negative images disappear. These are so darned good! They must be eaten right away and cut immediately before deep frying.

Walnut apple fritters are equally yummy and also are best if consumed right away. Get everything ready to go before guests arrive and then do the baking and frying. Why not have a treat once in awhile?

Beignet pronounced ben-yay is a staple in New Orleans made popular by the Café du Monde. These are to be eaten hot and heavily dusted with powdered sugar. 
Beignet dough can do double duty as cherry rolls. One recipe, two presentations. I make one recipe of dough and split it in half. This will make 18 cherry rolls and about 30 beignets.
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water 125 mL
1 tsp. sugar 5 mL
1 c. evaporated milk 250 mL
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt 5 mL
1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
1 c. water 250 mL
1/4 c. shortening 60 mL
7 c. flour 1.65 L
Combine yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand 5 minutes. Add evaporated milk, eggs, salt and sugar.
Heat one cup (250 mL) water until hot, about 115 F (46 C). Stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed using the paddle attachment, gradually adding four cups of flour, until smooth. Gradually add up to three cups (700 mL) more flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; roll dough to grease top. Cover and chill four hours or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week. 
Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to 1⁄4-inch (6 mm) thickness. Cut into 2 1⁄2 inch (6.5 cm) squares.
Pour oil to depth of two to three inches (5 to 7.5 cm) into a Dutch oven; heat to 360 F (182 C). Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with lots of powdered sugar. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 F (93 C) oven up to 30 minutes. 

Cherry Rolls
1 recipe beignet dough
1 can cherry pie filling
1 c. icing sugar 250 mL
1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
1 tbsp. milk 15 mL
Gently roll dough between your hands to make a 12 inch (30 cm) rope. On parchment lined baking sheet, loosely coil each rope. Leave two inches (5 cm) between coiled ropes. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place. Let rise one to two hours or until doubled in size. 
Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C). Press the center of each roll with your fingers until you touch baking sheet. Make indentations about an inch (2.5 cm) wide. Spoon cherry pie filling into each indentation. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth. Drizzle buns with glaze. Serve immediately.
Walnut Apple Fritters 
I love the doughnut shape of a slice of apple in this fritter. You could also coarsely chop and stir apples into the batter and drop by spoonfuls into hot oil.

1 c. walnuts 250 mL
3/4 c. sugar 175 mL
1 3/4 c. flour 425 mL
1/2 tsp. salt 3 mL
a pinch of ground cloves
3/4 – 1 c. buttermilk 175-250 mL
1 large egg
oil for deep-frying
6 medium sized firm apples
powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C). Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for five minutes until lightly roasted but not too dark. Remove from oven and cool completely.
To prepare the batter, place the cooled toasted walnuts and sugar in a food processor and process until the nuts are ground to a fine powder. Add flour, salt and cloves and pulse a few times to mix.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk the buttermilk and egg together. With the motor running, slowly add the egg mixture to the nut mixture in the food processor, blending until just incorporated. The batter should be thick but pourable. Transfer batter to a clean bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in an electric deep fat fryer or in a deep frying pan to a temperature of 325 F (160 C). While the oil is heating, prepare apples. Leave the skin on the apples and remove the cores using a corer, leaving the apples whole. Cut each apple into four or five slices and carefully dry.
When the oil is hot, dip each apple slice in the batter until completely covered, then place in batches into the hot oil and deep fry for three to four minutes, turning regularly, until cooked, crisp and golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove and drain the cooked fritters on a cooling rack placed in a baking sheet. Continue until all apple rings are cooked. Dust with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.

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