It’s that time of year when I wish Spring would just hurry up and come. I want warm sunshine, I want to wear sandals, and I don’t want to scrape ice off of my car anymore. So how do I cope? Denial.
I buy sub par berries at the market and put them on and into everything like it’s the middle of the summer. And lemon may technically be a winter fruit, but it’s brightness makes me think of anything but cold temperatures. I think I probably post more recipes using lemons in March than in any other month of the year. Remember the vanilla lemon layer cake from last week? I just can’t get enough.
These beignets are the perfect example of my seasonal denial. I couldn’t be satisfied with just beignets, they had to be flavored with lemon zest and smothered in homemade strawberry sauce.
I made these little balls of fried heaven with my dear friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer. When she suggested trying beignets for the baking date we planned I was thrilled. I’ve completely fallen in love with beignets the few times I’ve had the opportunity to eat them, but hadn’t actually made them yet myself.
If you haven’t had the pleasure, a beignet is made from deep-fried dough, much like a doughnut. Many recipes start with a yeast-risen dough, but the variation we tried used a choux pastry (what eclairs and cream puffs are made of). I loved how they puffed during frying and had a light and airy center.
Beignets served with just a dusting of powdered sugar are incredible but the homemade strawberry sauce takes them to a whole new level. Becky and I declared them a success, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit to her and all of you, that after she left my house I immediately devoured at least half a dozen (maybe a whole dozen?) on the spot.
I should never be left alone with fried pastries, dangerous things happen.
Lemon Beignets with Strawberry Sauce
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (1 grams)
- ½ tsp granulated sugar (4 grams)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 grams)
- Zest of one lemon
- 4 large eggs
- 4 cups vegetable oil , for frying
- Powdered sugar , for dusting
- 2 cups strawberries , sliced (456 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (230 grams)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the beignets:
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, butter, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the butter is completely melted. Remove from heat, add the flour, salt, and lemon zest and stir until combined. Place over medium heat and stir until dough becomes slightly dry and leaves a film on the bottom of the pan.
- Scoop the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and let cool for 5-7 minutes. Beat the mixture on low speed, allowing it to cool some more, for a few minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
- Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over medium high heat to 365°F. Fry the beignets by the tablespoon a few at a time. Cook them for approximately 3 minutes on each side, or until golden and puffed.
- Remove the beignets and let drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately with strawberry sauce, if desired (recipe follows).
For the strawberry sauce:
- Combine the strawberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the balsamic vinegar and vanilla extract. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce coats the back of a spoon with the consistency of maple syrup. Let cool. Serve warm or cold.