I know, we just had beignets last week. But I get on these kicks, as you may have noticed.
The leftover cream cheese frosting in my fridge needed to be turned into something. There was just enough to pipe over a batch of beignets, studded with candied citron and currants and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Why not? (This is why I was hesitant to own a deep fryer. Opportunities keep presenting themselves.)
A good shake of powdered sugar and icing crosses to upgrade the usual buns.
Get ‘em while they’re hot.
Hot Cross Beignets
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. (1 pkg.) active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
finely grated zest of an orange
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup currants, candied citron, finely chopped apricots or other dried fruit
canola oil, for frying
plenty of icing sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 Tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. vanilla
In a large bowl, stir together the water, sugar and yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes. If it’s not foamy, toss it and buy new yeast.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, orange zest, eggs and vanilla. Add to the yeast mixture along with about half of the flour, the butter, cinnamon, ginger and salt and stir to combine. Gradually add the rest of the flour, stirring (or letting your dough hook do the work) until you have a sticky dough. Stir in the dried fruit. If it’s not too sticky to knead, knead it on a floured surface or with the dough hook; if it’s still pretty sticky, add a little more flour. Knead until it’s smooth and elastic, yet still tacky.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a couple inches of oil in a deep-fryer or heavy saucepan until hot, but not smoking (about 350F).
Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thick and cut into 1-2 inch squares with a knife. Carefully drop a few at a time into the hot oil, without crowding it (cooking too many at a time will bring the temperature of the oil down) and cook until golden on both sides, carefully flipping with tongs as necessary. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool, then douse in powdered sugar.
Makes about 2 dozen beignets.