Sourdough Beignets

This month’s Sourdough Surprises is beignets: deep fried choux pastry popular in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

However it clashes with Pancake Day, when we’ll be stuffing our faces with all sorts of pancakes, including sourdough pancakes of course!

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So we’re doing our beignets the weekend before.

Sourdough Surprises suggested recipes from Ben Starr and turnips2tangerines. The latter uses yeast, so I ruled that out as I always like to rely solely on my starter.

A bit of searching found another sourdough recipe at With All Your Life, but this seemed to be a very dry dough, and according to Cook’s Country I want a wet dough so there’s lots of water to turn to steam and expand the beignets.

So Ben Starr’s recipe it is.

Now I know the traditional Mardi Gras beignets are done plain with a sprinkling of icing (powered) sugar… but I couldn’t help wondering if you could put a filling in them, like a proper British doughnut’s filling of jam. So I did some more research…

Turns out some people do put jam inside, or chocolate, and a whole range of fillings: even red bean paste!

However what caught my eye was a savoury crab beignet with spicy apple chutney form The British Larder. It mainly caught my eye because we have a lovely spicy apple chutney we made, but then the idea grew on me to have beignet for dinner, and beignet for dessert. Instead of far too many sweet beignets we could split the dough and have half crab, half sweet, and make a meal of it. Except we don’t want a sweet dough for the crab.

One the one hand I want to do crab, with spicy apple chutney, and an avocado & toasted almond salad (a flavour combination recommended by The Flavor Bible). On the other hand I want to try the sweet Mardi Gras ones…

Solution? Do both!

As I’m going to have to do two smaller batches of dough, I’m going to use both my starters. The crab ones I’ll do with my rye starter, the sweet ones with my wheat starter, both of which get refreshed a couple of days in advance.

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Rye Crab Beignets

My rye starter is 200% hydration, however as I’m dropping the sugar from this version it may need that extra liquid as it won’t have the hydroscopic sugar helping retain moisture.

When I first mixed it together it was very dry, probably due to the wholemeal flour, so I’ve upped the buttermilk from 90g to 125g.

  • 125g rye starter (100%)
  • 210g wholemeal plain (AP) flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 125g buttermilk

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Mix together then let rise for eight hours at 21C in the proofer, stretching & folding & kneading a few times along the way.

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Proof overnight in the fridge.

Mix crab with minced spring onions (scallions), salt and lots of pepper, ad wrap with beignet dough.

Oil to 180C, fry.

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Serve with spicy apple chutney, and avocado & toasted almond salad.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis made a delicious meal. The beignets were crisp on the outside, with a delicate filling surrounded by chewy bread, all working well with the salads. I’d certainly do these again.

Wheat Sweet Beignets

This is just the straight Ben Starr recipe, halved and converted here to metric for my convenience, but with the extra buttermilk as mentioned above.

  • 125g wheat ‘sodo’ starter (100% hydration)
  • 210g wholemeal plain (AP) flour
  • 50g golden caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 125g buttermilk

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Mix together then let rise for six hours at 21C in the proofer, stretching & folding & kneading a few times along the way.

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Proof overnight in the fridge. Oil to 180C, fry. Serve with a sprinkling of icing (powdered) sugar.

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These were a bit of a let down after the savoury ones. It was deep fried bread, but it’s on it was a bit dull. This was fixed by adding un-photographed jams, chocolate and caramel spreads to dip them in. But then again most things are good when dipped like that!


Check out the other Sourdough Surprises beignets!

6 thoughts on “Sourdough Beignets

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