Thursday, December 23, 2010

Biegnets on Christmas morning.

I don't recall when we started this tradition.
But for many years, we've started Christmas morning with an early, early call to open presents and then I make some biegnets. Biegnets are little pillows of dough, fried and powdered with confectioner's sugar and eaten, still quite hot from the oil, with liberal amounts of piping hot cafe au lait.  The coffee gets started by the first person who's feet hit the floor.

Ironically, this week, as we've been preparing for Christmas, each boy has asked if we had the ingredients for the biegnets.  My husband asked as well,,, twice.  No one here is willing to skip the biegnets!

Biegnets are not terribly difficult to prepare at home. Given that we're southern, we, conversetly, really don't fry much food at all and so the fried biegnets are a once a year treat.  They take the place of doughnuts at our house. The yeast dough must be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight.  It seems that the larger quantity of this recipe works better than trying to cut the recipe in half.  This recipe makes about 5 dozen  2 to 2 1/2 inch square biegnets.  The dough keeps very well under refrigeration for about a week and makes an excellent quick snack if visitors pop in later in the day.

I'm make up the biegnet dough today and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge until I use it on Christmas morning.

I'm sharing my recipe so that if you want to try them, or start a new tradition in your family, you can.


2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups of plain flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup of shortening (I use Crisco)
vegetable oil for deep frying
confectioner's sugar for dusting (rolling in, depending on taste)

Put the warm water into a large bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and a couple of teaspoons of the sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Let proof for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the sugar, salt, eggs and evaporated milk. Gradually stir in 4 cups of the flour and the nutmeg and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and thoroughly blended.  Beat in the shortening, then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating it with a spoon until it becomes too stiff to stir, then working in the rest with our hands.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or bowl lid and refrigerate overnight.

Roll the dough out onto a floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then cut it into rectangles about 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches with a sharp knife.  Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 360 degree F.  Fry the biegnets about 3 or 4 minutes per bath.  Turn them over in the oil with tongs once of twice to get them evenly brown, since the rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff out.  Drain each batch, place on a platter lined with several layers of paper towels, and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until they're all done.

Actually, that business of them waiting on a platter in the oven doesn't happen here.  They come out of the saucepan (which functions as my deep fryer), onto the platter with the paper towels to drain briefly and get tossed into a bowl full of confectioner's sugar.   They're eaten in small batches as they're done by hovering family members, still half asleep, clad in their Christmas pajamas and robes and toting big cups of coffee.  And yes, since they were small, most of them drank coffee!

None of them died, none of them had stunted growth and only one of them does the 'spin around the light fixture because I've had too much caffeine' thing.

Here's your link to a printable version of the recipe:
Biegnet recipe

Here's to a sweet and happy Christmas morning treat!

1 comment:

  1. sounds delicious. The French spelling is beignets, I think.