I came across this recipe on a Shine article about creative ways to cook apples and followed the link to the Family Table portion of the website Babble. I didn’t know what Beignets were (deep fried pastries) but thought they looked interesting and tasty (and appley for fall), so I gave them a try.
They are delicious. Appley and cinnamony and with the caramel sauce, all-around mouth-wateringly good. Do watch out for the popped oil. I have one small spot where the oil got me on my chin. The battle wound was totally worth it.
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
8 cups vegetable oil
4-8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sparkling apple cider
1. Put the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a paper sack and set aside. Put the vegetable oil in a large pot and set over medium-high heat. Oil should be heated to between 350-375 degrees. While the oil heats, prepare the apple slices and batter. To slice the apples, I started with a sharp knife but then I remembered a helpful kitchen gizmo that I use to slice onions. It worked great and I wasn’t so worried about my fingers.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and place in a shallow dish like a pie plate. Set aside. Make a well in the remaining flour mixture and pour eggs, butter, and cider into the well. Stir with a fork, slowly incorporating all the flour from the sides of the well.
3. Now for the cooking. Working with two apple slices at a time, dredge them in the flour mixture in the pie plate. Next, dip in batter and carefully lower into the hot oil. Cook the beignets until each side cooked and golden brown. Remove with a metal slotted spoon.
*I worked the apples in shifts. I had two apples in the flour mix, two apples in the batter, two apples cooking on the first side in the oil and two apples cooking on the second side in the oil. Then, when I took the all-cooked ones out to cool, I just moved everything up and added two new apples to the flour.
4. Put the beignets on paper towels for a bit to cool slightly and then, one at a time, gently shake in the paper bag filled with sugar and spices. Serve with caramel sauce.
The Family Kitchen page has good pictures of the caramel changing colors. If you need some reference, check those out here.
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp butter
1. Place the heavy cream and the vanilla in a measuring cup. Stir together and set within easy reach of the stove.
2. Put the sugar and water in a medium pot with tall sides and stir to incorporate. Set over medium-high heat. As the sugar dissolves and begins to boil, do not stir with a spoon. You may swirl the pot to mix the boiling sugar water but stirring with a spoon will make the sugar crystalize.
3. As the sugar syrup boils, watch very carefully for the color to change. The color should be a warm amber tone, the shade of cinnamon sticks. Don’t let it get any darker. Because it’s such a small amount of syrup, using a candy thermometer will be a hinderance. Just pay attention and watch for the color change.
4. As soon as it turns the proper amber color, pull the pot off the heat. Whisk in the butter, which will cause some bubbling. Then pour in the vanilla-cream mixture, which will cause some crazy bubbling. Keep whisking briskly and carefully. The cream mixture might create a solid chunk when first poured in but just keep whisking. After all the cream has been added, put the pot of caramel over low heat and whisk for a minute or two until smooth. Allow to cool a bit and then top the beignets. The caramel can be kept in the refridgerator if unused.