Get your beads out for it's Mardi Gras time.
It's been years since I baked anything in mass quantities...but with Mardi Gras coming up and me being a newbie on the forum I thought I would contribute a recipe to the board. It's been a really cold winter here in Minnesota so any excuse to eat mass quantities of dough with possible fillings or toppings of jam or custard seemed in order.
Beignet combines the best of both worlds with a spiced egg batter (spices optional) fried into a golden ball of dough.
After trolling the cooking sites I settled on this recipe (I tried another one first but it was so bad it's not even worth posting)
I found an excellent recipe on Cooks.com http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,174,154189-230200,00.html.
One thing that was modified after experimenting was the addition of:
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cardamom
a sprinkle of nutmeg
These additions added a lot of extra flavor and worked really well when combined with custard or jam fillings.
The only other advice would be to add 4 cups of flour initially and work that into the batter really well, then add 1/2 cups at a time. I ended up only using 6 cups of the flour to make the dough have the right consistency.
Fillings or toppings (the dough puffs up leaving a nice space inside to fill)
custard (my personal favorite of Bird's Custard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird%27s_Custard is lovely and easy to make)
Proofing the yeast
Addition of optional spices (although I highly recommend this addition)
Addition of the flour until the right consistency
After resting overnight in the fridge the dough is ready to roll-out, cut, and fry
Frying in the oil and puffing up to golden puffs of love
Final Product of yummy warm beignet (donuts) we just call them what they are.
Make them into a rectangle and you have a lovely long john. I filled them with custard and topped with chocolate icing.... very nice. Plus also very economical to make... don't buy your $1.50 donut but make 4 dozen for the very same price.