Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baked Beignets

A classic golden french doughnuts with an airy crisp texture on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, these sugary pillows make a great breakfast and give you the feel of the taste of New Orleans at home!

The original recipe is to deep fry the dough pillows. The dough is usually made of bread flour, sugar, milk, butter and eggs. The deep fried pillows are rolled in powdered sugar and served hot as a breakfast mostly in New Orleans (but is quite common in all over France) . There are many variations of the recipe and a healthy one is baking the pillows. I came across Beignets last week when I was in Paris. We bought sugar-coated Beignets from a nearby bakery for breakfast. There are countless bakeries in every street in Paris serving Beignets for breakfast with a cup of hot creamy coffee.

We stayed in a home-stay with cute Parisian couple and I was able to get the recipe of Beignets from our host's girlfriend. I was not sure of the measurements so I slightly adapted that from Hodgson Mill Recipe Blog. Beignets came out perfect, just the way they served in France.\m/ They usually cover/sprinkle it with a thick layer of powdered sugar and sometimes, Beignets are served with sweet, flavored sauce.

A single traditional Beignet (with butter, plain flour and deep fried) has minimum of 250 calories. This modified recipe reduces it's calories to just 125. /:) I have replaced butter with Olive oil and bread flour with sifted wheat flour. The sugar I have added is a little less than the original recipe so these are not calorie-loaded doughnuts but a quite healthy and very filling breakfast or snack. They taste best when they are hot and fresh but if you want to save it for later or the next day, bake it for 5 minutes to get back the crispy outer layer and serve with powdered sugar sprinkled again.

Water 2 tablespoons & more
Sugar 1 teaspoon + 3 tablespoons
Active dry Yeast 1 teaspoon
Wheat flour/Plain flour 2 & 1/2 cups
Baking powder  1 teaspoon
Baking soda/Fruit salt 1/4 teaspoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Olive oil 3 tablespoon
Milk 2 tablespoon
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
Egg 1 whole
Vanilla essence 1 teaspoon
Sugar/powdered sugar(for dusting) 1/2 cup

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar and yeast powder. keep it aside for 10-15 minutes so that the yeast can get active. 
  • Combine wheat flour, sugar, Baking powder, fruit salt/baking soda and salt.
  • Add olive oil and mix well till the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
  • Add milk, lemon juice, Egg, vanilla essence, yeast mixture and mix. Add water if the mixture is too dry.
  • Cover and place it in a warm place for an hour. 
  • Once the dough looks doubled, dust the dough and knead it well for 5 minutes. Add some more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape and using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into small square shaped pillows. 
  • You can cut the dough into your desired shape if you do not prefect the square pillows. Arrange the cut pillows on a lined and sprayed baking tray. Let the pillows rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Brush milk over the pillows and bake them for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Grind the sugar to a fine powder. You can also use ready-made powdered sugar available in grocery shops. 
  • Remove the Beignets from oven once the pillows start to turn golden brown. 
  • Dust Beignets with powdered sugar. Also dust a little more on top before serving.  Serve hot with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy!
  • I have made the pillows quite thick because I wanted them to look like fluffy square buns. You can roll the dough a little more thinly to get more skinny pillows since the pillows rest before baking, they poof up a little anyway.
  • While asking for recipe, I tried to check if there was an eggless version for this recipe but I got an angry snap and a "no" as a response, probably because French people are quite defensive about their food and culture. You can try Egg-less version if you wish to, though. (Do let me know how it was if you did try egg-less) :)
  • Usually Beignets are served by dusting/sprinkling powdered sugar just on top of them. But I felt that dusting them all over makes them more enjoyable.

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