Wow, another month gone already! I managed to keep up with the CY365 project for another month. This month seemed harder for some reason. I don’t know if it was the prompts or just number of photos I’ve taken and needing to get out of my normal area for new stuff. Anyway, I did it! These are my favorites from the month:
Sourdough Surprises challenged us this month to use our starters to make Beignets. Beignets are traditional fried doughnut type treat served in New Orleans for breakfast. They are often made from fried pate a choux (cream puff) dough but can also be made with a yeasted pastry dough. The yeasted version lends itself perfectly to using sourdough starter. Since I am not fond of fried foods, making or eating, I chose to try altering a baked version for my challenge recipe.
I made the beignet dough with my usual technique of an overnight sponge to let my sourdough starter come up to full strength. I also substituted thinned out yogurt in place of the buttermilk since I usually have yogurt on hand but I don’t always have buttermilk. Traditionally, beignets are square shaped but I couldn’t resist making heart and circle shapes. While these beignets don’t taste like their fried counterparts, they are addictively soft and puffy and the subtle sourdough flavor is really tasty.
To make the beignets an even more special treat, I made a caramel chocolate sauce to dip them in which I could eat all by itself given the chance! The sauce is a simple loose ganache (mixture of cream and chocolate) except that I made a sugar caramel syrup first to mix with the cream. It was worth the extra trouble and I can’t wait to try this out on a truffle filling sometime.
Soft and pillowy baked beignets leavened with sourdough and served with chocolate caramel sauce
For the sponge:
¼ cup water
¼ cup all purpose unbleached flour
2 T 100% hydration sourdough starter
For the Beignets:
¼ cup sugar
1¾ cups all purpose unbleached flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. cold butter, cubed
½ cup greek yogurt thinned out with ¼ cup water to make ¾ cup liquid
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
¼ cup powdered sugar for dusting
For the chocolate caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
pinch kosher salt
The night before making the beignets, mix together the sponge ingredients in a small bowl. Let stand, loosely covered, at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the thinned yogurt, egg and vanilla and mix the dough together with a fork until it just comes together.
Lightly knead the dough until it holds together smoothly and place it back in the bowl. Cover loosely and let sit for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough out into a 9 inch square. Cut the dough into 12 squares or use cookie cutters to cut shapes.
Place the dough onto cookie sheets that have been lightly sprayed with cooking oil.
Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour until lightly puffy.
Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce.
Pour the water into a small saucepan and pour the sugar in the center of the pan.
Stir gently over very low heat until the sugar is completely melted. Brush the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to wash away any sugar crystals that have stuck to the sides.
Bring the heat up to medium high and cook, without stirring, until the sugar mixture becomes coppery in color (like a penny).
Remove from the heat and pour the cream into the sugar mixture and stir to combine. If the cream is too cold, the mixture may seize up initially, but keep stirring. If any clumps remain, you can heat the mixture gently while stirring to melt any caramel bits.
Add a pinch of salt, the butter and the chocolate to the caramel mixture and stir until smooth.
Remove the oiled plastic and bake the beignets in a preheated 400F oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Move the beignets to a rack and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. If necessary, reheat the sauce over low heat until it is melted enough for dipping.