|Alternative names||Many (see text)|
|Place of origin||Rome|
|Main ingredients||Dough, powdered sugar|
Beignet (English: //; French: [bɛɲɛ], ben-YAY literally bump), synonymous with the English "fritter", is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets may also be made from other types of dough, including yeast dough.
History and description
The tradition of beignets dates to the time of Ancient Rome, although the practice of frying food itself extends much further back; references to the ancient Greeks frying various foods in olive oils during the 5th century BC exist, and other cultures have adapted their own methods as well. The term beignet can be applied to two varieties, depending on the type of pastry. The French-style beignet in the United States, has the specific meaning of deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets can also be made with yeast pastry, which might be called boules de Berlin in French, referring to Berliner doughnuts which have a spherical shape (in other words, they do not have the typical doughnut hole) filled with fruit or jam.
Beignets are commonly known in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powdered sugar on top. They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot. Variations of fried dough can be found across cuisines internationally; however, the origin of the term beignet is specifically French. In the United States, beignets have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine and are customarily served as a dessert or in some sweet variation. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists, from "the old mother country", also brought by Acadians, and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking, variations often including banana or plantain – popular fruits in the port city. Today, Café du Monde is a popular New Orleans food destination specializing in beignets with powdered sugar, coffee with chicory, and café au lait. Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986.
Ingredients used to prepare beignets traditionally include:
- lukewarm water
- granulated sugar
- evaporated milk
- bread flour
- oil or lard, for deep-frying
- confectioners' sugar
- Cuisine of New Orleans
- List of choux pastry dishes
- List of doughnut varieties
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- Rosana G Moreira et al., Deep Fat Frying: Fundamentals and Applications, ISBN 0-8342-1321-4
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