It all started because of blueberries. We seem to be up to our ears in blueberries. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good problem to have. Last summer our blueberry bushes performed great! Thanks to their generous production, we still have several gallon bags of blueberries sitting in deep freeze.
I got a wild idea to make more blueberry jam. I had made some blueberry freezer jam last summer, but we have already finished our stores. Our 7 year old LOVES jelly doughnuts. So, as I was talking about making jam, he suggested that I make jelly-beignets. What a marvelous idea!
What is a Beignet?
It’s a fritter. Some may call it a donut (or doughnut) but there are not holes in this fried fritter. The dough is yeast based and contains milk, eggs, and sugar. Beignets were made famous by the Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. However, you do not have to travel to the big easy to enjoy these hot, fresh fried delicacies. Pull out your stock pot, you’re frying fritters this weekend.
Proof the Dough
I used my handy dandy Westbend bread machine to make the dough. I have made the dough with a stand mixer, but whenever I can throw all my ingredients in a machine and press the on button and let it do all the work, that’s cool with me.
Once the dough is mixed, let it proof. It needs to proof for 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator. I prefer that it sits overnight. Whip up the dough before bedtime and by morning you’ll have pastry dough ready to fry!
Roll it Out
Roll half the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into squares. I used a pizza cutter for this part, it’s much easier. Don’t fret if the squares aren’t perfect.
Fry Them Up
The dough will sink initially when you drop in into the oil. But, within seconds they will float to the surface. The fritters will puff up and bob around the oil. Use a slotted spoon to flip the fritter over so both sides get evenly browned. It’s okay if one side is browner than the other. They will taste fine.
Fill Them Up
Once both sides are browned, lay them on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels or a cooling rack. I fried all the fritters first before I filled them with the blueberry jam. After the fritters are done cooking, stab the tip of the filled pastry bag into the fritter. Give a light squeeze and fill the cavity until you see a little bit of jam peeking out from the hole.
Now the fun part: sift a generous amount of powdered sugar all over your jam filled fritters. Brew a cup of fresh coffee and serve them warm. Don’t worry about the mess (believe me, there will be an impressive mess) until after you’ve had your fill of fresh, homemade beignets!
A few Recipe Tips and Tricks:
Evaporated milk is sold in 12 oz cans. You will only need 4 oz for this recipe. Freeze the rest in a freezer proof container ( I separated them in to two 4 oz containers). Thaw when needed. This method works great with buttermilk too
If you do not own pastry bags, no worries. Use a plastic baggie. You can plastic couplers to fit pastry tips. Place the larger coupler piece inside, on one corner the baggie (like you a pastry bag). Cut off the corner of the baggie and secure the tip with the coupler ring.
Use room temperature jelly or jam. Mix it well so it’s loose enough to flow through the pastry tip. If using jam, make sure that it’s not too chunky for your pastry tip.
- 1 c lukewarm water
- 1/4 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature and beaten
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 c evaporated milk
- 4 c bread flour or all purpose flour
- 3 tsp instant active dry yeast
- vegetable oil (enough oil to completely cover beignets when frying)
- a paper bag
- powdered sugar for dusting (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup of Blueberry Jam
- Pastry bag fitted with a small tip
- Fit a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Place water, sugar, and yeast into the bowl and mix. Let the yeast mixture proof for 10 mins.
- Add salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk and to the yeast mixture in the bowl. Mix well.
- Add the flour one cup at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Beat until smooth. The dough is ready when it "clings" to the hook.
- Turn the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and form into an oval. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.
- In a deep fryer or large pot, heat vegetable oil to 365° F.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Punch it down.
- Lightly flour a flat surface and place the dough down. Cut it in half and put half of it back into the bowl (you can put this piece back in the refrigerator and use it later or the next day)
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board to 1/8-inch thickness.
- Cut into approximately 3-inch squares, triangles, or circles.
- Line a cookie sheet with paper towels or with a cooling rack.
- Fill your pastry bag with the jam.
- Fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown; beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff.*
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Pipe the jam in to the middle of the beignet. Just enough so that you see a little bit coming out of the opening.
- Dust the filled beignets with a copious amount of powdered sugar.
- Serve hot and with a steaming cup of sweet, milky coffee! Yum!
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