Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Orleans Beignets

This is a re-post of mine, but it's because I made these this morning, and ate them, hot from the oil, with a cup of coffee and a cold glass of milk, and I'm tellin' ya.   No better start to the day than these....

In my travels I have been to New Orleans about 8 times. And a mandatory stop when I'm there was always Cafe du Monde famous for it's chicory coffee and beignets, a square french raised donut. They are served warm and piled high with powdered sugar.

The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.

As I raised children, I would often make us beignets for breakfast, and sure enough as they grew up, and traveled to New Orleans themselves, they too always stop at Cafe du Monde. Do give these a try. They are easy to make, and really wonderful with a steaming hot cup of coffee au lait. This recipe was derived (and adapted slightly) from a box of Beignet Mix I bought while there.

Ingredients and Method:

3/4 cup water, very warm, not hot
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons shortening or butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk
oil for frying (vegetable or peanut oil, preferably)
powdered sugar (about 1 cup)

In a bowl or mixer with dough hook, add sugar, yeast and warm water. Stir briefly to mix, and let sit while it proofs and becomes foamy. (this means the yeast is good)

Add two cups of flour, salt, evaporated milk, salt, and beaten egg and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour.

Mix in shortening or butter.

Add balance of flour and mix until sticky dough forms into a ball. Add additional flour, if needed, in 1/4 cups increments.

Transfer dough to floured board and knead briefly and form into ball. (I usually let the dough hook knead the dough for about 5 minutes which greatly decreases the time hand-kneading is required)

Transfer to greased bowl, and turn over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour. (Or overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning let dough come to room temperature)

Roll out dough to about 1 inch thickness, and slice dough into two inch squares, or triangular shapes. Cover with plastic wrap in place and let rise again for one hour.

Heat oil in a skillet to 375 degrees. Fry a few beignets at a time in the oil, turning once when browned on one side. It should take approximately 4 minutes per side. You should tend to the frying closely as they will cook really quickly. Move to paper towels and drain well.

Place on plate and sprinkle LIBERALLY with powdered sugar.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Two Layer Key Lime Pie

One of my favorite family recipes. I've been making this for years and my kids loved it as they were growing up. Whenever my youngest son visits from college, it's mandatory I make it and let him take it with him to school.

It's a basic key lime pie but with an extra layer. You can make your own crust or just buy it in the bakery section at the store. I can't tell the difference frankly.

Ingredients and Method:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or prepared shell)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice (Fresh if you can find them in season)
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup key lime juice
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar and press into pie pan. Place into 350 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Combine condensed milk, lime juice, and egg yolks. Pour into crust and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Remove and let cool completely.

Mix together room temperature cream cheese, vanilla, condensed milk, lime juice and sugar. Pour carefully onto key lime filling and refrigerate until set. Serve garnished with whipped cream.