Who goes light and healthy on Super Bowl Sunday?
This third excerpt from from Pickles, Pigs and Whisky (Andrews McMeel, October 203) by John Currence is boozy greezy yet concussion free. It also brings back memories of my grandmother's brain beignets.
Pork Fat Beignets with Bourbon Caramel
Though dessert beignets could absolutely not be any more New Orleans, you rarely catch them on anyone’s menu in the city. Considering the line that builds up almost every night at Cafe Du Monde (it’s the only item on their menu), you’d think they’d be on every menu around. This is a simple twist on that classic. The pork fat adds a little depth of flavor, and the cayenne helps cut through a little of the richness.
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1½cups lukewarm water (100° to 105°F)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 (¼ -ounce) envelope active dry yeast
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne
4 tablespoons lard (see page 136)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Peanut oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Serves 6 to 8
To make the caramel: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and 3 tablespoons water over medium heat. Swirl the sugar as it begins to boil (do not stir it). Continue swirling the sugar until it begins to change color. As it approaches a medium amber color, remove from the heat and whisk in the cream.
Be careful: This mixture will bubble up furiously at first, but it will settle. Whisk in the butter, salt, and bourbon. Set aside.
To make the beignets: Mix the water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes, or until it foams.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt, cream, and milk together. Mix the egg mixture into the yeast mixture.
Add 3 cups of the flour and the cayenne to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Add the lard and butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining 4 cups flour. Remove the dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth. Lightly rub a large bowl with vegetable oil. Put the dough into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat 2ó inches of peanut oil in a deep fryer to 350°F. Roll the dough out to about a ¼ -inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Carefully place a few pieces of the dough in the deep fryer at a time, flipping constantly and frying until they turn golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Serve immediately, dusted heavily with confectioners’ sugar and drizzled with the caramel.
Suggested song pairing: “The Sharpest Thorn” —Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey' by John Currence -October 2013- published by Andrews McMeel- all rights reserved, Photography by Angie Mosier)