Mardi Gras celebration is just around the corner as this year the holiday is happening right before Valentine's Day on Tuesday February 13th. To celebrate it like French people, we decided to share with you a very simple and quick sweet recipe: the infamous Carnival beignets.
For those not familiar with the holiday, Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. These beignets could be the perfect way to win your Valentine's heart this year!
Ingredients (make 20 beignets):
1/2cup all purpose flour
1/2cup tapioca flour
1/2teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/8teaspoon baking powder
1/2cup whole milk
1tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
1tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 to 3cups vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting
In one large bowl, mix together all purpose flour, tapioca flour, dry yeast, salt and baking powder. Add whole milk and stir the dough together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then add the sweetened condensed milk and unsalted butter, and stir again until the dough is smooth and very sticky. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it proof under room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Generously dust the working surface with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Pat the dough down and use a dough scraper to fold the dough onto itself like folding a letter. Turn it 90 degrees and fold again. Keep in mind that this dough is very sticky and you will need to continuously dust it with more flour to work with it. Then roll the dough out into a thin sheet about 1/8-inch (0.25 cm) thick. You can now cut the sheet into square shapes (which is easier and faster), or use a pastry cutter to cut out little rounds (gather the remaining scrap, roll it out and cut again until the dough is used up).
Place the pieces on a flour-dusted baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Let it rise under room temperature again for 1 hour until poofy.
Heat up 2 cups of vegetable oil in a deep and narrow pot on medium-high heat. The smaller and deeper the pot is, the less oil you’ll need for frying. Once you stick a wooden chopstick into the oil and it starts bubbling on the edges, the oil is ready for frying. Start frying 2 to 3 pieces at a time. Once the dough gets heated, it will start to puff up. Flip it immediately before the first side gets browned -- otherwise, it will always revert back to the same side because of the air on the inside. Keep flipping it a few times until both sides get golden browned.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack to drain. Repeat with the rest of the pieces.
Dust generously with powdered sugar and serve while they're still warm.
Bon Appétit et bon Mardi Gras!
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