Beignets. Fancy name for fried dough, actually French name for fried dough.
In Brazil we call them “rain cakes”, bolinho de chuva.
You’re supposed to make them when it rains, only! No, just kidding, you can make them whenever duh! But they are perfect for a rainy day, staying in watching cartoons while your mom makes them in the kitchen (true story).
Well, my mom is far away in Brazil, and quite honestly doesn’t cook as much anymore. My dad took over cooking duties because he makes some bomb food- from bread to homemade cheese! The man MAKES cheese, folks!!!
So anyway, I don’t have anybody to make me some beignets. So I HAVE to make them myself.
Yesterday, it wasn’t even raining but there I was, in the kitchen, making beignets! I stuffed them with cinnamon apples and bananas because I’m a genius! Coated them in cinnamon sugar and drizzled them with dulce de leche because I’m a genius with a sweet tooth.
My son was watching his favorite show, I heard the commercial break and I knew he was going to come in the kitchen looking for me snacks.
I had a beignet ready for him! He took the beignet and ate the whole thing, watching his show.
And as I watched him do that I thought: “This is nice! History repeats itself! Family traditions are the best!”
Apple and Banana Beignets
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup warm milk Both water and milk should be at around 90-100F
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 apple chopped small
- 1 large banana cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Cinnamon sugar: 2/3 cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- Dulce de leche to drizzle
- 1 quart of oil or 4 cups shortening to fry beignets
Mix flour, salt, ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg and set aside.
Mix warm milk and water with yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer. If you are using active yeast, it needs to be activated, so let this mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it foams up. If you are using instant yeast, just proceed. Add egg and vegetable shortening to the bowl and mix. With the mixer on low, fitted with the paddle attachment, add flour mixture. Once the dough comes together, switch to dough hook and knead dough for about 5 minutes, until it doesn’t seem so sticky. Add a little more flour if necessary. Don’t go too crazy here, just add one tablespoon at a time until dough isn’t so wet and sticky anymore. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
Before removing the dough from the fridge, prepare apples and banana, chop apple and banana, mix with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.
Remove dough from the fridge and you can immediately proceed, you don’t have to let it get to room temperature.
Roll dough out with a rolling pin on a floured counter. You want to roll it until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Make sure you relax the dough once in a while while rolling it. Relaxing the dough means unsticking it from the counter by lifting it (and sprinkling a little bit more flour under it if necessary). This way, when you go cut your circles, they won’t shrink.
Use 4” cutters or a little bigger if you want to, depending on what size you want your beignets to be.
The 4” cutter will provide you with a two-bites beignet.
In the middle of each circle, spoon a small amount of the fruit filling, maybe one piece of banana and a few pieces of apple. Don’t overstuff it. Fold the dough in half to form a half-circle, empanada shape beignet. Press the edge to seal. Place it in a floured baking sheet while you finish assembling the rest of the beignets.
Heat the oil or shortening in a large, heavy-bottom pan until it reaches 350F. Add beignets one by one, starting by the first one you’ve shaped. Fry 4 or 5 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan, they fry super quickly. You are going to fry for about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Be aware of your oil temperature. Using a thermometer will help you control that. Turn the heat up and down in order to keep your oil at 350F.
Let beignets drain in a baking sheet lined with a cooling wire. Mix 2/3 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon in a shallow bowl. And coat beignets as soon as possible in the cinnamon sugar mixture, I like to coat them while they are still hot so the sugar sticks to it better.
Drizzle with dulce de leche. You’re welcome.
Recipe makes 30-40 beignets if you use the 4” round cutter.
For the toppings, you don’t have to drizzle the dulce de leche if you don’t feel like it. Drizzle caramel, or eat plain, simply coated by the cinnamon sugar. I do advise you to try with the dulce de leche though!
You can buy dulce de leche at the store and if you can’t find it, read my post about my Snickerdoodles filled with dulce de leche and I explain how to easily make this delicious beautiful caramel at your house!