You don’t have to live in New Orleans to enjoy the deep-fried fritters that call the city home. Beignets have been all around the South since French colonists brought them over in the eighteenth century. But really, their goodness is universal. There are tons of variations—with fruit, with jam, and even with meat—but the fundamentals are the same. Beignets are super versatile, both in geography and course. As long as you have a little dough and a lot of hot oil, you can make them anywhere—for anytime. People flock to chic boutiques like Café du Monde and the appropriately named Café Beignet and plop down dozens of dollars for the fritters, and for good reason. If you enjoy either breakfast or dessert, main course or après meal, then this tasty treat can find someplace on your menu. And you can make it yourself with minimal ingredients and a minimum of hassle.
Our version is ultratraditional: just dough, fried in oil, with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The key to beignets that are neither overly chewy nor unbearably crisp is the dough, and the key to the dough is rest. We call for a minimum of six hours downtime, but if you can wait overnight, that’s even better. When you’re rested up and ready to roll, remember that the optimum size for frying is 2–3 inches square by ¼ inch thick. This size allows for relatively quick frying, and they’re just big enough for a mouthful. Once they’re drained and at a good temperature for eating, don’t skimp on the powdered sugar; this is, after all, dessert. Or breakfast. Or, better yet, both.
from TLP‘s Test Kitchen