New Orleans Beignets
On my first visit to New Orleans, I popped over to the historic Cafe du Monde to grab a paper bag of beignets and a takeaway cup of coffee. I walked to the water's edge to watch the sky at dusk over the Mississippi River, a couple buskers singing a few yards away. Like any first-timer, I made the mistake of inhaling as I bit into the beignet, coughing powdered sugar all over myself. But it was worth it. The warm yeasted dough must've been fried minutes beforehand, and the sweet crispy outside gave way to an airy interior that smelled and tasted like heaven. Beignets are cut into squares, which means the corners become slightly crispier than the rest of the pastry—those fried corners alone make beignets a legitimate rival to any circular doughnut.Years later, I tried this easy beignets recipe and was transported back to that May evening on the Mississippi. Made from a simple yeast mixture, evaporated milk, shortening, eggs, and flour, the dough only takes a few minutes to throw together, but the secret is letting the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight. This time in the fridge allows the yeast to develop slowly, making a particularly fluffy and flavorful beignet.