It’s Fat Tuesday and what better way to indulge than with some tasty, hot, fresh- from-the-fryer beignets. I mean, for the next 46 days (yes, this year it’s more than the 40 days and 40 nights you’re usually accustomed to), if you’re Catholic the Catholic law of abstinence dictates that you give up something – whether it’s coffee, swearing, sweets or red meat (or whatever your vice). So, I say, go out with a bang – indulge in one of life’s sweetest pleasures until the next 46 days are over.
Yields approximately 3 dozen
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
¼ cup shortening
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees.
Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about ¼ -inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners' sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.