Remember when I told you how during carnival season it’s customary here in Hungary to make donuts? Since it’s that time of the year, I thought I’d post a donut recipe again, this time exploring how other nations do donuts. Pillowy French beignets (pron. ben-yay) were on top of the list.
I wanted them square, States-style. Yes, I know they make them round in Paris, but I had enough round donuts already and no squares yet. Also, the chocolate filling. That don’t need explaining I reckon.
So I got to it. And although they tasted awesome (like, really awesome!) and I eventually managed to shoot an ok-kinda photo of them, the honest truth is that I had quite a difficult time making these.
The dough was too damn sticky (which is probably my fault because I bought the same flour I previously found hard to work with). The beignets were turning over in the frying oil all by themselves. Half the amount would have been more than enough of the chocolate ganache, and it is simply impossible to fill the donuts with it when it’s still warm, like the recipe was saying. The smallest nozzle of my piping bag turned out to be still too big for the job, and there were sticky chocolate and sugar and oil everywhere.
I struggled, cursed, made a terrible mess of my kitchen, cursed some more, and even wished at one point the whole thing would just go and eff itself.
There. It’s out, and I feel liberated. (I also had a glass… ok two glasses of wine, so all is good now.) I wanted to tell you this because 99.9 percent of the time authors – me included – are being like oh, this recipe is so ridiculously easy, you can “make it from scratch” and it “comes together in a blink of an eye”. Moderate breakdowns and piles of dirty dishes are seldom mentioned.
Easy recipes do exist. This is not one of them. Or let me put it this way: it wasn’t for me at first try. I still decided to post it, difficulties and all. Cooking is fun and I thoroughly enjoy it, but I’d lie if I said it’s always a triumph. My kitchen and its output is not Instagrammable all of the time. So if you goofed up your last recipe, don’t be disheartened. Shit happens.
That said, I’m sure I will make beignets again. It’s a learning curve, plus they are just.so.good!
This is the recipe, adjusted to suck way less for you than it did for me. Good luck!
Fluffy-soft French donuts filled with a rich chocolate cream. Makes 12.
For the donuts:
50 g granulated sugar
150 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
15 g fresh yeast
50 g unsalted butter
320 g AP flour + extra for dusting
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
vegetable oil for frying
2 tbsp powdered sugar + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, for dusting
For the filling:
125 ml double cream
125 g dark chocolate, chopped
30 g unsalted butter, cubed
- Gently heat the sugar and milk in a small pan until warm and sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla.
- Crumble the yeast into a bowl, pour in half the sweetened warm milk, then mix and leave to activate.
- Place the remaining milk back on the heat and add the butter. Heat until butter melts, but don’t let the milk boil.
- Sift flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the hook attachment and make a well in the centre. Add the egg yolks, yeasted milk and the butter-milk mixture.
- Mix on low until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the mix is too sticky, add extra flour, a teaspoon at a time.
- Place dough in a clean bowl dusted with flour, cover with cling film to stop the dough forming a skin. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- While dough is rising, make the filling. Put the cream in a pan and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Put the chocolate and butter into another bowl. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Put ganache in the fridge to stiffen up.
- When dough has risen, knead lightly on a floured surface than roll out to a rectangle with a thickness of about 2 cm.
- Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 12 rectangular pillows, then leave to rise again until doubled in size, about 30 min.
- Combine powdered sugar with granulated sugar in a bowl for dusting, set aside.
- Pour oil in a deep saucepan filling it one-third full and heat to 160°C. Fry the doughnuts in batches of 2-3 until evenly golden brown and cooked through. You will need to moderate the heat between batches, otherwise the doughnuts brown too quickly and remain raw inside or too slowly and suck up too much oil.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the oil and transfer to a dish lined with kitchen towels to drain excess oil. Once cool, transfer in the sugar to coat.
- To fill the doughnuts, spoon the chocolate ganache into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle. Insert the nozzle into the doughnut and gently squeeze in the filling. Enjoy!