Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sweet Potato Beignet

Beignet? Yes, I was in New Orleans once with an ex-boyfriend. It wasn't Mardi Gras and we didn't stay there but maybe two days. There were no beads, no booze and no big celebration.  I remember walking down Bourbon Street, hearing the music spill out from the bars but we didn't go in any. Of course we ate jambalaya, at some little tourist trap. We spent half an hour in a cemetery where all the graves were above ground until it became too ghoulish. We walked around Lake Pontchartrain and got sunburned. But that was the extent of it. You see, we had to get ourselves to Galveston TX so we could stay at a hotel for Merchant Marines.  A hotel, I might add, where one wing was condemned (it was right across the hall from us); a motel were we had to share a bathroom with an old Portuguese sailor. Because, you know, we thought we were in a Jack Kerouac novel. But what I'm really getting at here is that no, I never had a beignet at Cafe du Monde, so this sad, rambling story is my only reference point for beignet.

Time and place have a lot to do with the taste of things. I'm sure my beignet would taste mind blowing if I was eating them at Cafe du Monde. And their beignets would lose some cache if I was eating them on my couch in my pajamas. But memory also plays a part in the enjoyment of food as Proust will tell you, so I am tasting New Orleans in my beignets.

Actually these beignets were amazing. Golden crisp and sugary on the outside (I coated half with cinnamon sugar and half with 10X), tender and moist on the inside. The recipe made 12 and I was on my way to eating all of them when my sister came in the kitchen and I offered her one and she ate two. They're perfect for breakfast, snacking, dessert or as my sis suggested, with Champagne. Now that's a celebration!

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
vegetable oil for frying
cinnamon sugar for rolling
confectioners sugar for sprinkling

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix potato, ricotta cheese and egg. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine. Spoon out 12 portions, I kept mine irregular so they would hold the sugar better, and set aside.

Heat about 2 or 3 inches of vegetable oil to 360 degrees. Fry 3 or 4 biegnet at a time, turning as necessary to insure even frying, for 2 or 3 minutes each or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Roll in cinnamon sugar or sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve warm, makes 12, try to share.

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