Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vegan beignets

I love pastry. I love it so much. It was one of those things that I had to sacrifice the day I decided to go vegan because most pastries contain one of or a combination of milk, butter and eggs. The reason I went vegan was because I enjoy the healthy lifestyle and so although I don't eat as much pastry, I'm not too bothered by it. But, that's not to say that if I find a vegan version of my favourite pastries then I won't eat it. Trust me, I'll eat it. In fact, try stop me from eating two more after demolishing the first one.

I have found that most sweet baked goods can be made with a vegan friendly recipe, and I love a good challenge trying to find veganised recipes. I was told about a delicious pastry called a beignet which is derived from the French word for "bump". I guess it's called that because it's deep fried dough which looks a little bit like a round bump. It's very popular in America, particularly in New Orleans where they are the specialty at Café du Monde. After spending some time searching for a recipe that I thought would taste the best, I settled for one I found from the site Eff Yeah It's Vegan. How could you not pick a recipe from a website with a cool name like that?

I made a few adjustments here and there and set off on a wonderful baking journey today :) Little did I know that these beignets would be one of the yummiest things I've ever eaten. Seriously, you won't understand until you try one. 

The beignets are so unbelievably soft and fluffy on the inside. All this soft fluffiness is encased in a crispy golden deep fried outer layer. And the icing sugar which is piled on top. Yes, it has to be  piled on top. It just completes the pastry and makes the world feel right. You may think I'm making a big fuss out of something to small, but it's because you just don't get this kind of thing in Perth; and if you do, I don't know where to find it, and it's probably not vegan. 

My life is a little better, and my tummy is a lot happier now that I've tasted beignets. Whether you try my vegan recipe, or make yourself the traditional beignet recipe, you will not be disappointed. Having eaten about 4 of them already, I could go for another 4 right now. But I won't, because then I'll get icing sugar all over my keyboard. Although, I'd probably just lick it off. 

Vegan beignets (Adapted from Eff Yeah It's Vegan)

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs active dry yeast
  • 1 egg replacement (I used No-Egg)
  • 2 Tbs vegan shortening (i.e. vegetable shortening)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk + 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying (I used sunflower oil. About 2L of it)
  • Enough powdered sugar to choke out an army. Yes, that is actually how much you need. Don't be shy now. The more the better.
  1. In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow to sit until the yeast gets bubbly and happy, about 5 minutes. Add in the egg replacement and beat until combined. Add in the soy creamer, the shortening and half the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add in the salt and the rest of the flour and finish with the dough hook. If you don't have a dough hook, knead the dough by hand. 
  2.  Spray cooking spray or a light bit of oil into a bowl or dish with a lid. add in the dough and turn to coat. Cover and allow to sit in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight. 
  3. Heat your cooking oil to 360 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to approximately 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness. 1/2 inch thick is too thick. 
  4. Cut the dough into 3" x 3" squares or diamonds. Place into the hot oil carefully, making sure not to crowd the oil. The beignet should float to the surface almost immediately. Cook on each side for about 20-30 seconds, or until a rich golden brown. 
  5. Once golden brown on both sides, remove from oil and allow to rest for about 1 minute. With a sieve, sprinkle the powdered sugar generously onto the top of the beignets. Enjoy, traditionally with a cafe au (almond) lait.

It's best not to stack them. They will expand and stick together!

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