I do love Disney movies, especially Disney’s Princess and the Frog. It just appeals to me in so many ways.
I love how Princess Tiana dreamed of opening her own restaurant one day, and the references it made to New Orleans’ food and culture, especially the BEIGNETS!
WHAT ARE BEIGNETS?
Think of beignets as donuts in a square form, but waaay lighter with just the right amount of sweetness.
Beignets are deep-fried sweet treats that are usually crispy on the outside and spongy and soft as a cloud on the inside.
They are a staple in New Orleans and are better known as the official doughnut of Louisiana.
TIANA’S BEIGNETS RECIPE INGREDIENTS
This famous beignet recipe is actually easier to make than you think it is. You’ll just need the following below to get going.
- Active dry yeast – this gives our beignets that beautiful rise.
- Warm water – for proofing the active dry yeast. You can also swap this with warm milk. Just make sure it’s lukewarm and not boiling warm as it would kill the yeast.
- Granulated sugar – acts as food for the yeast to activate and to sweeten up these famous beignets Disneyland treat.
- Salt – a kitchen staple which balances out the flavor.
- Vanilla extract – adds a nice aroma and enhances as well the flavors in this beignet recipe.
- Eggs – lightens the texture and make the yeast dough finer and richer by binding all the ingredients together.
- Milk or Butter Milk– helps achieve that fine, soft, cottony texture of beignets.
- All-purpose flour – the go-to type of flour even for yeast-based dough; it also works well when making cookies, cakes, and pies.
- Butter – adds that nice distinct buttery flavor to our dough.
- Oil – you can use vegetable, canola, or any neutral-flavored oil for deep-frying as these ones have mild flavors with high-smoking point.
- Powdered sugar – for that snowy finishing touch that also adds a delightful sweetness.
CAN YOU MAKE BEIGNETS WITHOUT YEAST?
You can, however, it won’t be the same beignets that most of us love. The magic of beignets is with the yeast used in the dough that makes it rise beautifully. And it won’t be the same without that added yeast flavor. Trust me on this.
WHY ARE MY BEIGNETS NOT RISING?
The puffiness of a beignet is what makes it special. But if you fail to achieve that puffiness, check your oil temperature.
This could mean that the oil temperature is too low. A simple trick to determine if your oil is ready for frying is to test smaller pieces of the dough.
Another thing to remember when frying beignets is not to overcrowd the pan. I know how tempting it is to just get it all done at once. But too many pieces in the same pan would cause the oil temperature to drop resulting in a flat beignet. And we don’t want that to happen.
CAN YOU LEAVE BEIGNET DOUGH OVERNIGHT?
Yes, you sure can. You can make the beignet dough ahead of time by placing the dough in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. Store the dough ball in the fridge for up to 24 hours (see step #4 in the recipe card).
WHAT’S THE BEST OIL TO USE FOR FRYING BEIGNETS?
Cafe du Monde suggests that you use cottonseed oil just like they do. But not all grocery stores carry them. So if in case you don’t have one, any neutral-flavored oil would do like canola or vegetable oil.
MORE FRIED SNACK RECIPES LIKE THIS
PRINCESS TIANA’S FAMOUS BEIGNETS RECIPE
- ¾ cup Water
- ½ cup Buttermilk or whole milk
- ½ cup Granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon Active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 4 cups Oil for frying depending on your saucepan’s size
- ½ cup Powdered sugar
- Pour the water and milk into a saucepan and gently warm over low heat until it's lukewarm. (It's lukewarm if you can put your finger in it, and it feels pleasant.) Pour into a jug, add the sugar and the yeast, then stir to dissolve. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes to develop and bubble the yeast.
- While waiting, melt the butter. Once the yeast is frothing, add the egg, melted butter, and vanilla to the milk mixture and whisk to combine.
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir everything together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft dough.
- Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and place in a clean greased bowl, cover with cling film or a clean towel and leave to rise in a warm environment for an hour until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto a surface, then roll it into a rectangle, around ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough into squares.
- Pour the oil into a large pot or saucepan and heat it to 375F/190C. If you don't have a temperature probe, add a piece of bread to the oil. If it sizzles and the bread turns golden in 30 seconds, it's ready. Be careful with the hot oil.
- Gently lower a couple of the dough squares into the hot oil using a slotted spoon or spider, and fry them for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Remove the beignets and let them cool. Repeat with the rest of the beignets.
- Using a sieve, cover them in lots of powdered sugar, and then serve!
- Using warm water that reaches 120° F will slowly kill the yeast.
- You will know if your yeast is alive if it is foamy and bubbly after proofing it for 10 minutes.