I really only deep fry once a year. Yes, I run a baking blog, which isn't the healthiest of places, but deep frying is the special kind of indulgence that I can only allow for the holiday of Chanuka. So when it's this rare, I have to make it memorable. Enter mini cream-filled French beignets.
In the past I've made doughnuts, both cake and yeast-raised, and also experimented with apple fritters. But this year I had a hankering to try out a New Orleans classic: French beignets. Beignets are different from doughnuts in that they are square and do not have a hole in the middle, and they are never frosted, but are instead topped with copious amounts of powdered sugar.
To up the indulgence level, I filled them with fresh cream, which is a perfect balance to the chewy, yeasty fried bites. If you're new to deep frying, a couple tips: As terrifying as it sounds, I actually recommend frying in shortening, for one simple reason - since it is solid at room temperature, your doughnuts will be less oily in touch and texture when they cool down. You certainly don't have to use shortening, and since it isn't widely available in Israel I used canola oil.
I recommend using a thermometer when I deep fry so I can always know the temperature of the oil for accurate baking. If you really don't want to invest, you'll have to make test fritters to see how quickly they cook. Keep in mind that the oil temperature will rise and dip throughout the cooking process.
I also recommend some all-metal tools - preferably tongs and a small sieve to remove the finished sufganiyot. And as always: safety first. Lower things gently into the oil, never drop them in to allow hot splashes, and always have the pot handle turned in toward the stove so you can't accidentally knock it.
Recipe: Makes about 36 mini beignets1 cup warm milk
1 package active dry yeast*
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups (plus more) flour
oil or shortening for frying
1/2 cup whipping cream
Mix together the milk and yeast and in a large bowl, let stand 10 minutes until bubbly. Add in the sugar, eggs, melted butter and salt and whisk until combined. Add in the flour and using your hands, a wooden spoon or a dough hook mix until it comes together into a dough. Continue to knead until no longer sticky, adding in flour as necessary, 5-10 minutes.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled clean bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let sit for at least 40 minutes at room temperature until doubled (if your kitchen is cool, it may need longer).
Heat the oil or shortening in a deep pot to 325 F.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out into about a 12" square. Using a pastry/pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut into 1" squares. Lower about 6 squares at a time into the hot oil. Let cook about 1-2 minutes on each side, until well browned, before flipping over to cook the other side. When done, remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
Whip the cream until stiff. Use a small knife to make a small hole in the side of each beignet. Fill a piping bag with a small metal tip with the cream, then pipe into each beigent until full. Douse generously with powdered sugar and serve as soon as possible.
*Note: How you go about this recipe will depend on the type of yeast you use, which will likely depend on where you live. I wrote the recipe for active dry yeast, which is the most commercially available type in the US, where most of my readers are based. If you live, like I do, in a place where instant dry yeast is sold, you skip the yeast proofing step entirely. Instead, add the yeast to the flour, using the flour as a buffer between the yeast and the liquids, then mix everything together.
Chanuka Blog Party!
I'm far from the only one getting in the Chanuka spirit today, on the second day of the holiday. Here are some other bloggers participating in our Chanuka blog party organized by Leah of Cook Kosher and Miriam of Overtime Cook! Be sure to check out some of these tasty looking links - plus many of them are participating in a fun cookbook giveaway.
Latkes:Jamie from Joy of Kosher made Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki
Daniel from Peikes Cookbook made Potato and Fennel Latkes Fried in Duck Fat With Chinese Five Spice Apple Sauce
Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Squash and Potato Latkes
Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Ruby Red Beet Latkes with Cumin
Nechamah from TIforOA Food Ideas made Healthy Oatmeal Latkes
Liz from The Lemon Bowl made Traditional Potato Latkes
Yosef from This American Bite made Latkes & Brisket on Rye
Melanie from From Fast Food to Fresh Food made (I Can't Believe They're Crispy!) Baked Latkes
Laura from Mother Would Know made Three Variations of Sweet and Savory Latkes
Sarah from Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends made Kimchee Latkes
Shulie from Food Wanderings made Baked Panko Sweet Potato Leek Latkes
Donuts and Desserts:
Miriam from Overtime Cook made Shortcut Cannoli with Chocolate Mousse Filling
Leah from Cook Kosher made 5 Minute Donuts
Estee from The Kosher Scoop made Tropical Fruit Fritters
Melinda from Kitchen-Tested made Sweet Steamed Buns
Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat made Homemade Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Gelt
Avidan from Baking It Up As I Go Along made Orange Olive Oil Cake
Tali from More Quiche Please made Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes
Amital from Organized Jewish Home made Mom's Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Princess Lea from The Frumanista made Túrógombóc
Stephanie and Jessica from The Kosher Foodies made Beignets
Gigi from Gigi's Kitchen made Bunuelos: Mini Powdered Cheese Donuts
Esther from Esther O Designs made Edible Menorahs
Patti from No Bacon Here made Hanukkah Oreo Balls
Shoshana from Couldn't Be Parve made Churros con Chocolate
Shaindy from My Happily Hectic Life made Inside Out Apple Crisp
Eve from Gluten Free Nosh made Gluten-Free Hanukkah Sugar Cookies
The Gluten Free maven made Gluten Free Vegan Cake Donuts
Sarah from Food, Words, Photos made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Victoria from Itsy Bitsy Balebusta made Pure Vanilla Donuts
Vicky and Ruth from May I Have That Recipe made Dulce de Leche and Eggnog cream filled mini sufganiot
Dena from Oh You Cook made Poached Pears in Pomegranate Sauce
Michele from Kosher Treif Cooking made Tiramisu Cheessecake
Sharon from FashionIsha made Sparkly Chanukah Cookies
Appetizers, Soups, Sauces, Drinks and other Hanukkah Food:
Laura from Pragmatic Attic made Caramel Spice Applesauce
Jessie from Bread and Butter made Honey Spiced Hanukkah Martini
G6 from Guess Who's Coming 2 Dinner made Sweet Potato Leek Soup
Claire from I Love Soup made Sweet Potato, Coconut & Lemongrass Soup
Jennifer from Juanita's Cocina made Kugel
Liz from Kosher Like Me made Ready, Stuff Roll!
Shelley from The Kosher Home made Hanukkah Crafts and Printables