OMG. I’m telling you out of my last shred of conscience and humanity before I turn Paula Deen. If you like fried dough. If you have a weakness for doughnuts. If exercising self-restraint over hot-and-crispy-exterior-with-chewy-center things isn’t exactly your forte. Or if you value any possibility to a) find a mate, b) keep a mate, c) or simply to be able to fit into ANYTHING ever again. Pack your knives and go. Because this recipe is up to no good. Run. RuN. RUN!
The rest of you, follow me into beignet Mordor with no return.
(Peek…) am I now only left with consenting adults whom I trust understand the meaning of responsibility? So here it goes. I believe there are things better perceived as home-kitchen-unfriendly for a good reason. There are white lies that aren’t meant to be uncovered as it’s how your guardian angels or fairy Godmother shields you from the truth only to protect you. But I’m going to tell you something inconveniently true – among those things, the fact that beignet can be FURTHER perfected (that’s right, FURTHER!) and that one could easily create this perfectly hot and crispy and chewy beignets in any unequipped kitchen relatively easy, crowns the list. Boy, I shouldn’t know about this… I DON’T WANNA know about this. So to deal with this piece of information that’s going to ruin me for life, I’m going to pass it on… to you. I told you to run.
Still understandably mind-boggled over “excuse me, beignets need perfecting? It’s already French for God’s sakes!”. Well yes. Yes it can. More accurately, DONUTS need perfecting. Oh man, I’m being borderline offensive. Would it make it easier to swallow if I mention Japanese? The Japanese who CAN and WILL perfect every edible things that walk this earth? I’m talking about Mr. Donuts who invented the notorious pon de ring, a new breed of donuts with an impossibly soft and chewy texture that resembles Brazilian pão de queijo (cheese bread) in dessert form. It’s jut too much. As if donuts aren’t evil enough he wanted to give it an upgrade? Of course, a recipe of such significance is securely guarded and locked in a vault somewhere like the formula of Kate Middleton’s hair dye. However, one ingredient is unmistakably present and left for the world to play with, that is the use of tapioca flour. Mixed with different ratios to wheat flour, it gives new life to any dough with a unique, chewy and silky texture that I just can’t explain without you trying.
So this is how it’s gonna go down. In this exact order, you are going to reasonably talk yourself out of making this for the sake of waist-lines and sanity. But soon reasons will fade and sanity will be overthrown faster than you can say “oooops”. Then at exactly 3 hazy hours later you’ll be staring at 10 beautifully puffy beignets on the kitchen counter with absolutely nobody else but you in the room, when in fact you are ABSOLUTELY sure there were 20. Experiencing panic isn’t an uncommon emotion right here. Who ate ALL TEN beignets at one serving before dinner is even made!? I don’t know. The white powder clinging on your finger tips might leave a shocking clue but we are going to conclude that the dogs had them. They can be so sneaky sometimes.
Serving: 20 beignets
* I played with this recipe a number of times which yielded two different results that you can choose from. One has the use of baking powder, and one does not. The baking powder formula (cut into square shape) will produce a very light and literally AIRY beignet with hollow center which can then be filled with custards, jams or… (omg this is pure evil) forget what I said. And the other one without baking powder (cut into round shape) has a more solid center with a tender and satisfying chew. The shape of the beignet, I assume, is inter-changeable.
** If you want to play with the ratio of flour and tapioca flour, take away 1 tbsp of flour and add 1 tbsp of tapioca flour for start. As the amount of tapioca flour increases, the dough will become more translucent and soft. Have fun.
Ingredients: inspired by Mr. Donut
- 1/2 cup of bread flour
- 1/2 cup of tapioca flour
- 1/2 tsp of instant dry yeast
- 1/8 tsp of salt
- 1/8 tsp of baking powder *optional
- 1/2 cup of whole milk
- 1 tbsp of sweeten condensed milk
- 1 tbsp of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ~ 3 cups of vegetable oil for frying
- Powder sugar for dusting
In one large bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, dry yeast, salt and baking powder (*optional). Add 1/2 cup of whole milk and stir the dough together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then add the sweeten condensed milk and unsalted butter, and stir again into a smooth and very sticky dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it proof under room temperature until doubled in size, 1~2 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″ (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 2~3 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 would always revert back to the same side because of the air 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 powder sugar and serve while they’re warm.