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Orange Blossom Beignets

Join Otto and Bethany Nielsen as they share their wealth of knowledge from wearing the hats of chef, caterer, and home cook. They offer insights gained from cooking with kids to catering weddings. Gain unique hospitality tips for confined spaces and uncover the art of knife sharpening. Do you know what true caramelized onions are? I didn't! We're so glad you're here!

Orange Blossom Beignets Servings: *single batch makes about 40 large, 60 small beignets* (by Otto and Bethany Nielsen) Ingredients:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons warm water

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup half & half

1 tablespoon orange blossom water

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 ¼ cups unbleached white Shepherd’s Grain flour, adjust as needed during dough kneading


-Measure & save yeast in small mixing bowl.

-Crack & save egg in measuring cup.

-Melt & combine butter, sugar, half & half, yogurt, salt in medium saucepan & stir. Heat till very warm to the touch & stir till combined. Remove from heat; add yeast & (whisked) eggs, vanilla, and orange blossom water. Let rest till yeast activates.

-Measure flour into large mixing bowl. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold yeast & liquid mixture into flour. Continue to gently stir, adding the reserved warm water as needed. When batter is mixed, let rest a few minutes.

-Butter a (medium to large) casserole dish and pour batter into dish. Cover & refrigerate, overnight if possible.

-After at least 6 hours (overnight is truly best for the flavor and tenderness), remove and gently knead dough on a floured surface.

-Roll out with a French rolling pin into a thin, springy rectangle, about ½ inch thick. Using a bench scraper or dough cutter, cut into 2” diamond shapes for large beignets, 1” diamond shapes for smaller. Rest, covered, about 20-30 minutes.

-Bring up to 6 inches of lard to a temp of 315-325 degrees, in a heavy skillet or deep dish pan. I recommend Le Creuset or Cuisinart-their enamel heavy duty pots are fantastic and beautiful. This will take up to 30 minutes.

-During this time, toast 1 tablespoon of anise seeds till they smell like licorice; remove, cool, and grind in a spice grinder till a very fine, greenish-brown powder. Mix 1 tablespoon per 4 cups of powdered sugar together in a bowl or casserole dish and set aside.

-Once the lard is up to temp, using (long if possible) tongs drop beignet dough, gently, onto the surface of the lard. Initially, at the right temp, each will sink; it should rise immediately to the surface (if the temp is hot enough). Fry in batches of 6-12, depending on the size of the pot/skillet. Fry on each side 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and crispy; turn one time to finish the other side.

-Using a strainer or “spider” (a fabulous kitchen supply store staple-a wide, ultra-meshed strainer with a long handle), remove beignets and drain them lightly. I recommend a cooling rack inside a baking sheet-the lard drips off gently and the beignets are easy to test for coolness there. Once they are warm (not hot), transfer beignets to the anise & powdered sugar dish/bowl. Roll gently-use tongs or food service gloves-to coat all sides. Transfer the coated doughnuts to a serving dish! Enjoy with a strong cup of black tea or coffee and a beautiful glossy dipping sauce from your favorite berries. These are messy but so fun to eat with little ones, family, and good friends-as long as no one minds the mess!

*A final note-this dough multiplies really well; generally I make a 4 batch, although I have been able to make up to 900 beignets at a time (about a 12 batch).

Orange Blossom Beignets
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Recipe discussed in episode:

Recommended Products:

Orange Blossom Water Brands -

Knives! Messermeister is good (see link below) as well as Victorinox Forschner (at restaurant supply stores)

Panini knife!

Utility brush for scrubbing dishes before washing!

Hotel pans - look at restaurant supply stores or...

8 quart stockpot -

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