KEY LIME BEIGNETS
Copyright from “Norman Van Aken’s Florida Kitchen” © 2021
Here is my Florida homage to beignets!
Yield: Serves 6
For the French Meringue Drops:
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
For the Key Lime Curd:
1 1/2 cups sugar
Grated zest of 7 Key limes
4 egg yolks
6 ounces butter
For the Beignets:
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4-ounce envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 pound bread flour
18 grams crackers, cracked into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable or canola oil for deep-frying
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Butter and flour a baking sheet.
Make the French meringue drops: Whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and pinch of salt, then sprinkle in the sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. Increase the speed to high once all of the sugar is in and whip to medium peaks. Once done, transfer the meringue to a plastic piping bag and cut off the end to about the diameter of the handle of a wooden kitchen spoon, then pipe the meringue from one end of the pan to the other, in an s-like pattern, snacking all the way from one end to the other, filling it up entirely.
Bake for 30 minutes, then check to see if it is dry and crispy. It should come off the paper easily. If not, just put it back in until it is, 15 more minutes at most. Turn off the oven and let it stay in there until you can handle the pan with your bare hands. Loosen it from the baking sheet, and allow it to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. Crack or chop up into pieces when getting ready to make the beignets.
Make the Key lime curd: Put the sugar, zest, juice, and yolks in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until the mixture heats up. As the liquid gets hotter, whisk more frequently until it begins to thicken, then whisk continuously. Cook until a ribbon of curd can be seen to retain on the surface of the curd. Then, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a piece at a time. Push through a sieve into a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin, and warp the top of the bowl. Place in the fridge until well chilled.
Make the beignets: Bring the milk to 110 degrees, and add 1 teaspoon of sugar, and then add the yeast to bloom. Wait 10 minutes. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl and add buttermilk, shortening, and the rest of the sugar, whisking to dissolve.
Meanwhile, put the flour, graham crackers, spices, and salt in a food processor and blend well
In a mixer add all your wet ingredients and little by little start adding the dry ingredients.
Let the mixture rest covered, at room temperature, until doubled in size, about one hour.
Heat a pot of oil to 350 degrees. Fry the beignets a few at a time. Fry until golden brown, then flip until bottom is also golden brown. Transfer to a rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool slightly before dusting with confectioners’ sugar.
Put the lime curd in individual ramekins or a small mason jar and use it as a dipping sauce. Crush up the French meringue drops and scatter them over the warm beignets. Serve.
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