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Strawberry Rhubarb Beignets

Bourbon St. is known for many things and one of those many things is a beignet.

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For those who have never experienced the confection, a beignet is fried dough tossed with powdered sugar that’s best enjoyed with a strong cup of coffee or espresso. Fried dough topped with sugar…if that seems too simple to be true, it isn’t! Especially when we add a tart and sweet filling like strawberries and rhubarb. This dessert is a fantastically delicious end to my southern-themed backyard barbecue.

Bourbon St is known for many things and one of those many things is a beignet. Cafe du Monde is a legendary spot to enjoy the fried pillows of dough coated in a generous snowing of powdered sugar and served with a cup of really good coffee. I hope to attempt to capture that experience here with my homemade beignets.

I start with the pastry dough so I bring out my trusty mixer. The mixer does the heavy lifting and then the dough does the hard work by resting for a time, allowing the yeast to proof so that the dough will puff when I dip my beignets into the hot oil bath.

Fried dough and sugar are easy enough, but I want to fill the pastry. The pastry, when fried, puffs to create an inner pocket that is an ideal place to hold a delicious fruit filling. Strawberries and rhubarb are a natural combination. I cook the two together with a bit of lemon juice (the acidity helps to maintain the bright red color) and just a little bit of sugar until it reduces to a nice jammy consistency. Now it’s time to build my beignets.

A bit of rolling, filling, and folding and the beignets are gently plunked into the awaiting pot of hot oil, where they bob about as they gradually become golden and toasty. I give them a moment to rest before I generously dust the beignets with powdered sugar. I use a sieve to avoid clumps of powdered sugar. I want a kind of impossible lightness that makes the fried dough look effortlessly pillowy. Mission accomplished! Each bite has that distinctive texture of fried dough, sweet powdered sugar, and this beautiful jammy filling that is tart and sweet. So good!

A batch of beignets is a beautiful end to an amazing meal, one that includes Green Gator Gumbo, Fried Oyster Po’Boys, Creole Coleslaw, and Cajun Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

Yield(s): Makes 12-14 beignets

15m prep time

30m cook time

1h 20m inactive

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For the dough:
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup whole milk, warm
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
For strawberry rhubarb:
  • 1 cups fresh strawberries, diced
  • 2 stalks fresh rhubarb, diced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preparation
  1. In a stand mixer attached with a whisk attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast until thoroughly distributed in the flour.
  2. Add warm milk, water, egg whites, and vegetable oil to the stand mixer, and mix dough for 2 minutes on low speed using the dough hook attachment, then mix on medium speed for 5 minutes until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Remove dough from the bowl and place in a greased glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough proof for 1 hour in a warm place.
  4. Cook strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and vanilla extract over low heat in a wide pan for 15 - 20 minutes or until mixture is jammy and not too loose.
  5. Place proofed dough onto a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an even ½ inch thick slab. Cut sides to make an even square or rectangle.
  6. Cut into 3" x 2" pieces and using one piece at a time, roll beignet out a little longer and dab 1 - 2 spoonfuls of strawberry rhubarb mixture at one end and fold dough over from end to end. Seal edges using your fingertips and a butter knife to flatten into an even rectangle, then place onto a flour-dusted parchment-lined sheet tray.
  7. Cover loosely with plastic for dough to rise again for 15 - 20 minutes.
  8. Fry dough at 350°F and flip constantly. Fry until golden on each side and place onto a wire rack-lined sheet tray to drain excess grease.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!