Celebrate Shrove Tuesday (or any day!) in true New Orleans-style with these truly authentic, soft and fluffy gluten free beignets.
Have you ever been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? I actually have, and it was super overwhelming. And I'm not even sure I had a beignet.
I went when I was in college in upstate New York. I literally hopped in a van with about 7 other young women and drove down to The Big Easy.
We got a flat tire along the way, maybe somewhere in Alabama. I remember the flat tire, and the ride—but I have no memory of how we got it changed. I'm sure none of us had AAA! But we finally made it, and I'm sorry to say that I don't think the food was what drew us there.
Well, if I'm being totally honest, what drew me there was a guy I was dating (!) who was a native. And he and his native-born friends were not so into Mardi Gras.
So it was years later that I remember ever having a beignet—and I could kick myself for not having one in NoLa! Gluten free beignets are really just a type of gluten free donut (and are, in fact, adapted from the recipe for Glazed Yeast-Raised Donuts from Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread).
But they're even more yeasty, and (clearly) have no hole. They start out as squares of dough, rolled flat, and they puff up like crazy in the frying oil. It's a sight to behold!
Mardi Gras is coming, and these New Orleans-Style Gluten Free Beignets … are here to remind you of one thing: If they can make it with gluten, we can make it without!
See how they start out as thin little, not-very-exciting-looking squares of gluten free dough? Look what a quick spin in the fryer does!
Okay, and a generous dusting of confectioners' sugar doesn't hurt either…
I'm afraid that my words just cannot convey how delicious these tender, yeasty little super-puffy beignets are. Whether you make it to Mardi Gras or not (for me, that would be a “not”), there's no reason you can't eat like it.
Oh, the pleasures of a warm beignet with a cuppa Joe. And be smarter than I ever was back in college—don't forget the food is the most important part of any holiday!
Let the good times roll!
New Orleans-Style Gluten Free Beignets
3 cups (420 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour,* plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 2/3 teaspoons (8 g) instant yeast
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
12 ounces (1 can) evaporated milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar (I used white Balsamic vinegar, which is a bit more mild, but white wine vinegar would be fine, too)
4 tablespoons (48 g) vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening—it is trans-fat free), melted and cooled
1 egg (60 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioners’ sugar (at least 1 cup (115 g)), for sprinkling
*GLUTEN FREE BREAD FLOUR
Makes 1 cup (140 g) flour
100 grams (about 11 1/2 tablespoons) all-purpose gluten-free flour (71%)**
25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)
15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)
**For the all-purpose gluten-free flour in Gluten-Free Bread Flour, use this copycat recipe for Better Batter gluten free flour, or the commercially available Better Batter all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (which is what I use to build my gluten free bread flour blend). For a calculator to do the math for you, click here.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the flour, cream of tartar, instant yeast and sugar, and use a handheld whisk to combine well. Add the salt and whisk to combine well. Add the evaporated milk, vinegar, shortening and eggs, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough is a lovely, smooth enriched dough. Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket large enough for the dough to rise to double its size, spray the top of the dough with cooking oil spray, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.**
**Note: If you prefer, you may make and use this dough on the same day. It will not be as easy to handle, but you can still work with it. To use it the same day it is made, after making the dough, cover it as directed and set it to rise in a warm, draft-free environment to allow it to rise to double its size (about 1 hour). Once it has doubled, place it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or until it is chilled. This will make it much easier to handle. Then, continue with the rest of the recipe instructions.
Preparing the dough for shaping. On baking day, line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, spray it with cooking oil and set it aside. Turn out the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and, using the scrape and fold kneading method and using a very light touch, sprinkle the dough with more flour and knead it lightly, sprinkling with flour when necessary to prevent it from sticking, scrape the dough off the floured surface with a floured bench scraper, then fold it over on itself. Repeat scraping and folding until the dough has become smoother. Do not overwork the dough or you will incorporate too much flour and it will not rise properly.
Shaping the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkling lightly with flour as necessary to prevent sticking, roll it out into a rectangle that is about 1/2-inch thick. Spray a large piece of unbleached parchment paper generously with cooking spray, and transfer the dough to the greased paper. With a floured rolling pin, continue to roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick and about 12-inches square, sprinkling very lightly with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. With a pizza wheel, pastry wheel or sharp knife, trim any ragged edges to create a proper square. Slice the rectangle into 12 3-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheet, placed about 1 inch apart, and cover loosely with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Set in a warm, draft-free location to rest and rise slightly for about 20 minutes.
Fry the beignets. While the dough is finishing its final rise, place about 3 inches of frying oil in a large, heavy-bottom stockpot. Over medium-high heat, clip a candy/frying thermometer to the side of the stockpot and bring the temperature of the oil to 325°F. For best results, keep a close eye on the temperature of the oil and maintain the proper temperature in between batches of frying dough. Uncover the risen dough and place the worst-looking beignet in the hot oil and fry until light golden brown all over (about 1 minute per side). The dough will puff up as it fries. This is the sacrificial fried dough. It dirties the oil a bit (slightly dirty oil fries more evenly than completely clean dough). If the dough browns too quickly or fries in a speckled fashion, the oil is too hot. Remove the beignet from the hot oil. Drain on paper towels. Place the remaining 11 beignets in the hot oil in batches of about 2 to 3 until light golden brown (about 1 minute per side). Drain on paper towels.
After all of the beignets are fried and while they are still warm, sprinkle both sides liberally with confectioners’ sugar. If you would like to cover the beignets very evenly and completely with confectioners’ sugar, place the sugar in a large zip-top plastic bag, and then place the warm beignets in the bag about 4 at a time. Seal the bag, shake vigorously, then remove the beignets from the bag. Serve immediately. If you’ve never had a warm beignet, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you have, you know what I mean!
Adapted from the recipe for Glazed Yeast-Raised Donuts on page 151 of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread.