Yield: 40 beignets
- 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 2 packages yeast (total 1/2 ounce or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- oil for frying, as needed (canola or peanut oil)
- powdered sugar as needed, optional
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, and salt (use a fork to mash and mix).
Mix in one cup boiling water and one cup milk. Set aside.
Mix yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1/4 cup warm water and set aside for 5-10 minutes (see note below). When yeast is bubbly on top, add the yeast and beaten eggs to the sugar mixture (from step 1) and mix well.
Add 3 1/2 cups flour and stir in with a spoon. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and mix. Put the dough in a greased covered bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Place enough oil in a deep pot to provide about a 4 inch depth. Heat oil to 340 degrees F.
While oil heats, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Cut into 3 inch squares with a knife (dough will be very tacky).
Fry one of the squares in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to eat. Cut the cooked beignet in half and observe the texture. If the inside is doughy increace the heat of the oil by another 20 degrees. If the texture is dry and fluffy proceed to the next step.
Fry the remaining squares a few at a time in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towels (do NOT cover). Sprinkle powdered sugar liberally on top of beignets. Serve immediately while hot.
NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with working with yeast, be aware that the water used to dissolve the yeast must be lukewarm. Not hot, not cold. If too cold the yeast will not work. If too hot it will kill the yeast. It is best to check the temperature with a thermometer for 110-115 degrees F. If the yeast mixture does not foam and bubble vigorously within 10 minutes, discard and start over with fresh yeast and water of the proper temperature.