Monday, February 27, 2012

Fat Tuesday: Pear and Apple Beignets (Fritters)

A few weeks ago I ran across a recipe for Pear Beignets with Pastry Cream. It looked so good, and I had 3 ripening pears ready to go.

Beignets are fried pastry common in New Orleans. Tuesday was Fat Tuesday, the last day before lent, and the date for Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday is famous for many delicious foods wherever lent is celebrated. 

First I took out a paper bag and filled it with
1/2c sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Not everyone as (or likes) cardamom. This works just as well with cinnamon. In fact, my son J. filled a second bag with a cinnamon sugar mixture.

Start heating some oil (8c or so, whatever works) in a pot with high sides until it reaches 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit. I recommend a clip-on thermometer. They are inexpensive and completely worthwhile, even if you only fry once or twice a year. It is too easy to undershoot or overshoot the best temperature, and then the final product can turn out too greasy or raw. 

3c flour
3tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt 

After whisking, remove 3/4c and put it in a wide, flat container like a pie or pasta plate. 

Make a well in the four mixture. Add
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbl butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2-2c liquid, in traditional beignets there's often a bit of beer. 
The original recipe suggests sparkling cider. Some use milk, water, juice, or evaporated milk. I decided to use a mix of buttermilk and seltzer water (because that's what I had). 
It turned out to be 1c buttermilk + 1/2c seltzer.

At this point you should be close to 350. 

Things can be set up. 

And then a little more time to peel and slice the pears (or apples). 1/3" slices. 

Removing the hard spots. 

Dredge in the saved flour mixture. 

Dip in the fritter mix. 

Drop in the pot (between 350-375). You may find you're adjusting the temperature so it stays in that range. 

2 minutes per side. 

Roll in sugar mixture. Serve warm. 

 You can serve with pastry cream or lemon curd. I happened to have both. (I know..weird...but I'm learning how to make custards right now.)


Both pears and apples were good. I threw in apples in the leftover batter at the end and they were wonderful. They held up a bit better then the pears (the ones with holes broke easily) and were excellent in cinnamon/sugar. 

If you have leftover batter you can make a funnel cake like thing. 

And don't forget to filter the leftover oil and put it in the refrigerator. You can reuse the oil a few times. In fact, it fries better after the first use. 

1 comment:

Gardens at Waters East said...

Nice to find another Wisconsin Blogger. The gardens here are on the shores of Lake Michigan. I try to use the lake as a backdrop in many photos. If you go over some past postings you will see that. It is a beautiful place, thought this weekend's snow wan not nice! Jack