Beignets
Beignets

Fried doughs pop up in many Jewish communities around the world, and this one is probably a lot like many others.

Every culture fries dough in some form or another. As I’ve mentioned before, Jewish cuisine has long embraced frying as a primary method of cooking, from the origination of fish and chips many years ago, to latkes and sufganiyot on Chanukah. 

Chef Aaron Egan
Chef Aaron Egan2

Fried doughs pop up in many Jewish communities around the world, and this one is probably a lot like many others. The base here is Escoffier’s beignet paste, which is very close to pâte à choux, aka éclair paste, churro dough, etc.

This yields roughly a quart of batter; I typically use a #40 portion scoop (about 1¾ oz/50ml) to make my beignets; they come out about the size of a golf ball, maybe a bit bigger, and fry up relatively well in 8-10 minutes, which works in the restaurant environment. A bigger fryer does them faster than my countertop fryer, which will be faster than a stovetop pot.

Beignets

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz (99g) butter
  • 16 fl. oz (473ml) water
  • 2 pinches sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2/3 lbs. (302g, or about 10 2/3 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 7 eggs

Directions

Place butter, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan (at least 2 quarts) and bring to a boil. Add flour and stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon, cooking over medium-high heat as you stir, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan cleanly.

Off the heat, mix in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next. Once fully combined, transfer to a cool nonreactive vessel (plastic, glass, ceramic,) and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Prepare a deep fryer (or a small pot of oil at least 3-4 inches deep over medium-high heat) until it is at about 375°F. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature frequently (if you can’t clip it to the side, check every couple minutes, and tweak your heat accordingly. Scoop the dough with a small cookie scoop, or with two spoons carefully shaping it into a ball about the size of a shooter marble. Fry the dough in 350-375°F vegetable or canola oil until golden brown. Place on brown paper to wick off oil. Liberally coat with powdered sugar and serve with sweet sauces of choice. 

Chef Aaron blogs on the Facebook page of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. Reprinted with permission.

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