I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, for 9 years, and worked in the French Quarter for most of that time. Beignets at Cafe du Monde were a staple of my diet, and much missed.
We're in the middle of completely reorganizing the basement, and I've been going through things we haven't looked at in years. Tucked away on a bookshelf was an old Creole cookbook that used to belong to my husband's mother, and in this gem of a book, I just found a recipe for beignets.
Yields 2 1/2 dozen
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg, beaten
3 3/4 cups sifted flour
Pour boiling water over shortening, sugar, and salt. Add milk and let stand until warm. Dissolve yeast in warm water and add to milk mixture with the beaten egg.
Stir in 2 cups flour. Beat. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Place in a greased bowl, grease top of dough, cover with waxed paper and a cloth; chill until ready to use.
Roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Do not let dough rise before frying. Cut into squares and fry, a few at a time, in deep hot fat (360oF); brown on one side, turn and brown on other. Drain on absorbent paper. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.