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Sunday recipe: French ‘doughnuts’ make a sweet dessert

Fried dough is enjoyed in various forms around the world. While doughnuts are widely enjoy fried dough creations in North America, the French fried dough, known as beignets, are just as beloved.

Beignets can be made from various dough bases, including bread-flour batters and the common cream puff pastry known as pâte à choux. Pâte à choux is the vehicle in this recipe for a sweet and decadent rum-flavored fritter called “Beignets Soufflés au Bananes” (Rum-Flavored Banana Fritters), courtesy of French Classics Made Easy (Workman Publishing) by Richard Grausman. Diced banana and apricot are enhanced by rum, which adds a Caribbean touch to this delicious dessert.


Beignets Soufflés au Bananes

Serves 6

1 cup apricot jam
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons water
1 banana, diced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ recipe Sweet Cream-Puff Pastry (see below)
2 to 2½ quarts vegetable oil, for deep frying
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the apricot jam, 2 tablespoons of the rum, and the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Strain and keep warm.
  2. Place the banana in a bowl, sprinkle with the granulated sugar and the remaining rum, and set aside while you make the cream-puff pastry.
  3. In a deep fryer, heat the oil to 365 °F.
  4. Gently stir the banana-rum mixture into the cream-puff pastry. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil. The fritters will puff and turn themselves over several times. They are done when they have turned a deep brown color and stopped turning over, about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the fritters on paper towels. Place them on a plate or in individual serving bowls. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the hot apricot sauce.

Sweet Cream-Puff Pastry
Makes 20-25

½ cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs

  1. In a medium-size saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and vanilla to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
  2. Sift the flour into the liquid and stir with a wooden spoon. The pastry should resemble mashed potatoes at this point. Return to the heat and continue stirring for about 20 seconds. The pastry will dry slightly, forming a smooth mass when shaken in the pan. Remove it from the heat.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. The pastry should cling to the sides of the pan and to the wooden spatula once all the eggs have been added. Lift your spatula and check the pastry. It should hang down 2 to 3 inches from the spatula. If the pastry clings to the spatula but does not hang, it is still a little stiff and requires a bit more egg. If the pastry runs down the spatula, you have added too much egg and should start again.
  4. At this point the pastry is ready to be formed.