makes 36 beignets ★ active time: 1 hour ★ total time: 4 hours
Beignets (pronounced ben-YAYS) are French pastries made from deep-fried dough and frequently topped with a mountain of confectioners’ sugar. They’re often called the precursor to the modern American doughnut. We make ours with a Parmesan dough and serve them with a spicy tomato-peach jam that’s both sweet and savory.
¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm
1¼ teaspoons (½ package) instant yeast
2 cups bread flour*
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1 cup tomato jam, store-bought or homemade
*Bread flour is a high-protein flour specially formulated for bread baking. The extra protein aids in the formation of gluten. All-purpose flour can be used in a pinch, although the dough won’t be quite as elastic.
1. Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast on top; let sit for 5 minutes, or until frothy. Add flour, egg, ⅓ cup of the Parmesan, butter, sugar, salt, and pepper, and mix with the paddle attachment until dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook (or turn dough out onto a floured surface) and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
2. Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Roll into a ½-inch-thick sheet. Using a circle cutter, cut into 1½-inch rounds and arrange on a lightly floured or parchment-lined baking sheet with 1 inch between rounds. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.
3. Fill a heavy saucepan with oil to a depth of at least 2 inches; bring to 350°F over medium heat. Line a large platter or baking sheet with paper towels.
4. Gently drop dough rounds into the hot oil, a few at a time, taking care not to overcrowd pan. Fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining rounds, monitoring oil temperature as you go and, if necessary, waiting for temperature to return to 350°F before frying more dough.
5. As soon as beignets are cool enough to handle, toss with the remaining ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese to coat. Serve warm with tomato jam for dipping.