It’s cold out here, and it’s just getting colder. This week an arctic front is flying in and will apparently prevent the temperature from getting above 5 degrees for a while. And we’re trying to enjoy ourselves, we really are. We take out the snowshoes and we tromp around the woods in wonder, and then one of the kids starts hollering, “I’m cold! Carry Me, now!” And as if I would say yes with that tone young lady, but let me just tell you now, my kids are not light and willowy, especially with all their snowsuits and coats and hats and gloves and too big for them boots. And as much as I try to embrace the winter, I’m already thinking about trellising pea plants and lying in the hammock outside at night getting murdered by mosquitoes. But the truth is that winter has just begun, and around here, it goes till May. So what else can we do, but look to our northern neighbors, where they freeze their asses off joyfully and fashionably. Yes, I am talking about Quebec, the coldest and fanciest place I know of. And so, like the French Canadians, let’s deep fry some dough.
Beignets (adapted from The King Arthur Baking Companion)
2-3 cups vegetable oil, for frying (This really depends on your pan- you need about 2 inches of oil)
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can use regular all purpose if that’s all you have)
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Maple syrup or fruit sauce for dipping
Heat the oil to 350 in a large, deep pot.
Mix the egg, milk and butter together. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar. Stir together with a whisk until evenly incorporated. Add the milk mixture and stir until smooth.
When the oil reaches 350 degrees, drop the batter in large spoonfuls into the oil. Fry a few at a time, but give them space to expand. Fry the beignets for 1 minute on each side. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and let them drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with powdered sugar and dip in maple syrup, or make a fruit sauce with those berries that you stashed in the freezer last summer- throw the frozen berries in a saucepan and cook until they are bubbling.