I’m finally getting around to posting recipes again! I’ve almost forgotten how enjoyable it is to crouch down in front of my living room window, food arranged on props, chairs and stools stacked up high to catch the light, camera in hand… I love starting my morning this way. I also love sitting down with my coffee to edit the shots before posting. Since my last really good ‘posting streak’ I’ve gained many new followers. I want to say a quick hello and welcome to those who are new to NTTW. Thank you for joining me here on WordPress, I am grateful! I’m astounded by the amount of followers I’ve acquired over the past few months, I never imagined I’d have a proper audience on here. I started out just searching around the city for places to find sweet treats and bread, and I’ve evolved it into a blog of more recipes than anything else. I’ve used it as an outlet for developing some of my very own recipes, and pushing myself to take better photographs. Having an audience bigger than I’d expected to have- motivates me do better work and to keep at it. So thank you very much to all of you, for taking the time to read through and comment on these pages.
Now for the beignets pictured above: I’m calling this your last minute go-to dessert. Any of you who do much cooking or baking at home will most likely have all the ingredients you need on hand already, no need for an extra trip to pick up specialty ingredients. All you need is butter, sugar, salt, eggs, all purpose flour, some canola oil for frying, and some cinnamon for finishing. Having a thermometer on hand is great for checking the temperature of the oil before frying, so I recommend this. You want your oil to be at about 340-350F. Too low a temperature and the oil will seep into your product, and too hot a temperature and it will burn your product on the outside while it’s still raw on the inside.
Cream puffs and eclairs are made from a batter called pate a choux (or choux pastry) and this little donut-esque treat is just the deep fried version. All you need are the baking basics. This batter is best when made in a stand mixer, but since I only make very small batches anyways: I’ve just mixed this recipe by hand and it worked fine! I made the batter earlier in the day, put it into a sealed plastic container in the fridge, and then pulled it out and left it on the counter for a mimimum of 20 mins, to allow it to come to room temperature before frying. I took the batter to a friend’s house as my contribution to dinner, and fried it up after we finished our meal so they were fresh and hot. Worked perfectly! The easiest way to impress… I promise.
The Batter: (Serves 4-6 people)
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly mixed with a fork
sugar mixed with cinnamon for finishing
canola oil for frying (thermometer optional but recommended)
-Bring your water, butter, sugar, and salt, to a boil (in a pot large enough to add your flour afterwards).
-Remove from the heat momentarily, and using a spatula or wooden spoon: mix in the flour all at once. Return to low heat.
-Continue mixing until there are no small lumps of dry flour. The batter will come together as a ball and pull away from the sides of the pot. It will not stick to your fingers when you pinch it together. This is what you’re looking for.
-Place the mixture in a large bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
-Gradually add approximately one egg at a time, mixing vigorously with a fork (and alternating with spatula to keep the bowl scraped down) until all the egg is incorporated and the batter is smooth. It’s important that the batter does not have lumps in it. Once it’s finished it will be smooth and sticky.
-Place in an airtight container and reserve until you’re ready for frying. Will keep for 24-48 hours, but is best used same-day.
-Once your batter is ready for frying: bring your oil to 340-350F in a medium sized pot. You want deep enough oil to submerge your beignets, but a pot large enough that any bubbling of oil will be caught by the pot’s sides, and not splashed onto you.
-Using two spoons, begin placing small portions of the batter into the hot oil. Mine were about 2 TB worth of batter for each portion. Get your spoons right down at the oil when you’re spooning them: so that you don’t get any splashing as you drop them in the pot.
-Keep an eye on your oil temperature the entire time, it will fluctuate as it sits over the heat and as you add and remove items from it. Adjust your burner accordingly to keep it between 340-350F for best results.
-Flip your beignets over with a fork or spoon to ensure all sides cook thoroughly, and remove them when they are dark golden. You can break one open to be sure it’s cooked through before you remove them all from the oil! I usually fry 4 at a time only, too many will overcrowd and you won’t get a nice product.
-Once they’re cooked remove them from the oil onto a paper towel momentarily, to absorb excess fat. Then toss them into the cinnamon sugar to coat, and… enjoy!
So that’s all for today. Hope this one sounds easy enough for you to experiment with, I try to keep it simple!
Ciao for now, and thanks for reading!