From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Liturgical Cookbook: Beignets: French for donuts?

by Sierra Lawrence, for the Inland Register

(From the June 15, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

This weekend I am heading to New Orleans to visit my grandmother and attend my friend’s ordination.

I am very excited about this trip. I always love going to New Orleans, absorbing the sights, smells, and sounds of this historic city. It’s always a culture shock as well. It’s fun to sit in the Café du Monde, watching the owners and wait staff hustle to bring their customers coffee and sugar-laden, airy French doughnuts, listening to the wizened African-American man on the corner playing jazz on his saxophone, and eavesdropping on the various languages being spoken by the tourists and city folk alike. (Not that I understand them, so is it really eavesdropping?)

I like to ponder sometimes about how God “people-watches” – looking with love at his people, laughing at our silly ways, crying with us, caring for us. New Orleans is so diverse – yet, in some ways the same, no different than anywhere else. We are all individual, unique persons in God’s eyes, despite our external sugar coating.

Beignets or “French Doughnuts”
1 package active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (100-115 degrees F)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups flour
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
oil for deep frying
confectioner’s sugar for dusting (or burying, depending on taste)

Put the warm water into a large bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and a couple teaspoons of the sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Let proof for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk. Gradually stir in 4 cups of the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and thoroughly blended. Beat in the shortening, then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating it in with a spoon until it becomes too stiff to stir, then working in the rest with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight in a greased bowl. Roll the dough out onto a floured board or marble pastry surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then cut it into rectangles 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches with a sharp knife. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 360 degrees F. Fry the beignets about 3 or 4 at a time until they are puffed out and golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per batch or till golden brown. Turn them over in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown, since they rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff out. This maybe go very quickly, so don’t put too many beignets in the fryer at once, or they can cook faster than you can turn them. Drain each batch, place on a platter lined with several layers of paper towels, and keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until they’re all done. Serve 3 beignets per person, sprinkling heavily with powdered sugar, and serve hot with cafe au lait, or chocolate milk (for the kids).

This is a large recipe, so you can refrigerate the extra dough or even freeze it for later use.

(If you have a great recipe that celebrates a Holy Day or a special time during the liturgical year — even Ordinary Time is a great time to eat good food — send it in to the Inland Register, attention Liturgical Cookbook, P.O. Box 48, Spokane, WA 99210-0048.)

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