Tuesday, February 28, 2017
TWD - Nun's Beignets
Our last Tuesday with Dorie recipe for this month is nun's beignets (also known as the poetically named nun's farts). For the uninitiated, these are little donuts made from choux pastry rather than bread dough. When cooked properly, the choux expands and there is a cavity in the middle of each beignet.
Now that I have told you what is supposed to happen, let me tell you about my beignets. I had a terrific lesson in how and how not to make beignets, all in the one night.
I made a half batch of dough, not wanting to have too many beignets in the house. I don't have a deep fryer, so I had to rely on oil warmed on the stovetop in a saucepan. This makes temperature regulation quite tricky.
The first three beignets I made were quite good. They were maybe a little dark, and they seemed to take ages to puff up to the point where they split (which is how you know they are ready), but overall, the finished product was as it should be with a golden outside encasing a chasm (evidence of the fart?).
The next three went very, very dark and never did split. When I bit into one, the centre did not have a cavity, but had a cooked, custardy middle that reminded me of a cannelle. Tick, tick, even though it wasn't quite right.
The very last beignet, which was cooked on its lonesome, was a disaster. It also went very dark, almost to the point of black, and still it did not split. I made the mistake of eating this number, and wished immediately that I had just thrown it out. The middle was dense and leaden, the outside tasted burned, and was also bitter because the oil had obviously turned after being heated for so long.
I did try to reduce the heat to the oil during the cooking process, but to no avail - it really is difficult to regulate the temperature of oil on my gas stove.
I found the whole experience rather educational, if not actually all that successful. I now understand why Dorie said you have to cook the beignets until they split, because until they do, they remain rather dense in the middle, and can be downright unpleasant.
I realise that the results of my experiments, were due to my own (and my stove's) shortcomings, but I won't be making these again soon. On the upside, I know that done well, beignets are delicious, and I would buy them in a heartbeat if I saw them (which is unlikely on Australian streets).
To see what everyone else made this week and how it went, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.