Thursday, April 4, 2019

Beignets #CooktheBooksClub

These French inspired fried pastries, similar to donuts, gained fame in the USA when served up in Creole restaurants in New Orleans.  They are served warm from the fryer and sprinkled with powdered sugar both for Breakfast and for Dessert.

I was inspired to make these after reading Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee.....

This memoir was chosen by Debra of Eliot's Eats for our Cook the Books Club.  I am posting very early so if you would like to join us you have plenty of time.  You can learn all about it in Debra's announcement post.  You have until the end of May to read the book and create a recipe inspired by it or adapted from one of the many that Lee shares in his book.

Current Selection

I would highly recommend that you join us. I LOVED this memoir.  I was not very familiar with Edward Lee prior to reading this book.  I had seen him occasionally but never really watched him.  

I understand that he was featured on Mind of a Chef, a Netflix series.  I definitely want to watch this.  Reading Lee's memoir and his feelings and opinions in regards to cooking, family, friends and food felt very comfortable for me.  We are on the same wavelength about many things.  

The book is written by States and Cities visited by Lee, who traveled the USA searching for food from different cultures that have become part of our American lifestyle.  He writes with humor and tenderness.  I found him to be caring, generous, respectful and kind.  Lee is the kind of person that I would love to sit down with and share a meal and some conversation.

I listened to this book rather than reading it.  The narrator did a great job portraying the feelings of which Lee wrote.  The written book contains recipes.  I was supplied a pdf addendum from which I could get the recipes when I purchased the audible version.

The first chapter in Lee's book takes place in New Orleans and is all about Beignets.  I listened to this as I was running errands while preparing for a Mardi Gras Celebration.  I immediately knew what I was going to serve for dessert.

I did not make Lee's recipe for Beignets.  Lee's recipe contains Matcha powder which may have been interesting but I was serving these at a party so decided that I better stay with a more traditional recipe.  I used this one from Paula Deen, found on the Food Network Website.

This recipe makes a lot of dough.  Way more than I needed for the 24 guests who attended the party.  The dough reminded me of Paczki dough, so I put half in the garage refrigerator with the intent of making Paczki (Polish Donuts) over the weekend.  Of course, I forgot about the dough and the next time I went into the garage fridge I was greeted with a huge mass of dough that had quadrupled in size LOL.

Having never had made nor even tasted beignets prior to this, I wasn't sure what to expect.  They are delicious and sinful.  And yes, they remind me of Paczki without any filling and much smaller.  They puff up airy and light, not quite as dense as Paczki.  

They were best, warm from the fryer.  They were good that evening after dinner.  They were not very tasty for breakfast the next morning.  Luckily most had gotten eaten the evening before.  Next time I make them I will shape and freeze the remaining dough in smaller portions so that they can be eaten while fresh.

Debra will be posting a round up of all the recipes inspired by this book at the end of May.  You can find submissions by searching #CooktheBooks.

#MardiGras, #desserts, #donuts
Yield: 48 beignets


These French inspired fried pastries, similar to donuts, gained fame in the USA when served up in Creole restaurants in New Orleans. They are served warm from the fryer and sprinkled with powdered sugar both for Breakfast and for Dessert.
prep time: 2 H & 15 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 2 H & 30 M


  • 1 1/2 c. warm water (105-110*)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 7 c. bread flour
  • 1/4 c. vegetable shortening
  • Canola Oil for deep frying
  • 1 pkg. powdered sugar


  1. In large bowl of stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast.  Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs. salt and evaporated milk to the yeast mixture and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until combined.  With the mixer still on low speed, gradually add 3 cups of the flour.  Increase the speed to medium and mix in the shortening until completely incorporated.  Return to low speed and stir in the remaining flour.
  3. Switch to the dough hook and knead on med high speed for about 5 minutes, until formed into a smooth ball.  Remove ball from bowl, treat bowl with cooking spray or coat with oil.  Return dough to bowl, cover with a warm damp towel and let rise in a warm, draft free area for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oil in a deep pot or deep fryer to 350*.  
  5. Roll the dough out to about 1/4" thickness and then cut into 1" squares.  Deep fry, in batches, until golden brown and puffed, about 5 minutes per batch.  Drain on paper towels and then shake in a paper bag filled with powdered sugar.


Adapted from a recipe found on Food Network by Paula Deen.
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Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. No green tea!? LOL. I made beignets, too. Isn't he a fabulous writer? I hope you have some time to watch his Mind of a Chef episodes. He's a hoot.

    1. Yes, I have it on my list of things to do when I get a free moment LOL.

  2. I wonder how many beignets we have this round? It was my first choice after my first reading (months ago) and I want to reread the book again. These look delicious, Wendy! May I have some with my chicory coffee?

    1. Absolutely Debra, I would love to share a cup and a taste with you and some good conversation. Thanks for hosting.

  3. I cannot tell you how many times I have determined to make Beignets, and they're still on my to do list. I'm looking forward to reading the book, as soon as it comes in.

  4. I'll be starting this book soon. Your creations look great!

  5. I am also part of the "try to make beignets" group. Italian bigne' are like choux pastry, so quite different. Thank you for mentioning Paczki, which I looked up since I had not heard of them before :)

    1. I always find it interesting how different cultures create similar recipes.

  6. Each story in the book was special, and I had a hard time choosing which chapter to write about


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