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Beignets and Churros

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Too often these days, we hear something yummy referred to as being sinful. The other side of the coin is that someone who has practiced a bit of self-denial says that they have been good. I was taught that we will be held accountable, if we fail to enjoy the legitimate pleasures of the beautiful world g-d has created for us.
One of those legitimate pleasures is a holiday feast with friends and family. In these times when being abstemious passes for virtue, one of the miracles of Chanukah is the freedom to enjoy fried food. In every country, there is some special morsel cooked in oil for the celebration.
In France, the special goodies are called Beignets. Those of you who have visited the French Quarter of New Orleans, may have had them with a cup of Cafe au Lait. The same dough is shaped differently and called Churros in Mexico, which was at one time a French possession. These are very simple to make. They can be mixed right before you are about to fry them.
For those of you who are not accustomed to deep-fat frying, I recommend buying an electric fryer, which is thermostatically controlled. They are very inexpensive. I have one which is both a fryer and crockpot in one, a great convenience.
Fried food is only greasy, if it is fried at too low a temperature, and therefore absorbs the oil. 375 degrees is right.
Beignets and Churros
1 cup boiling Water
1/2 cup (1 stick) Margarine or Butter
1 cup Flour
4 Eggs
Sugar, powdered or granulated
Cinnamon (optional)
Oil for frying
In a medium sized saucepan, heat the Butter and Water together, until the butter is melted.
Add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously until the dough forms a ball.
Remove form the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add 1 egg, and beat until it is thoroughly combined.
Repeat, adding the remaining Eggs one at a time and beating thoroughly after each one. The dough will be very stiff.
Heat the oil to 375 degrees. If you do not have an electric fryer, use a fat thermometer.
While the oil is heating, place a large bowl of ice water close by. This is for you to use if you are burned; do NOT put butter on burns.
Remember to fry wearing long sleeves and an apron to protect you and your clothes.
Put the Sugar and Cinnamon, if you are using it, into a large paper sack.
Put the dough into the hot oil by teaspoonfuls for Beignets. or pipe it through a pastry tube for Churros.
Do not try to crowd the pan, as that will lower the temperature and make the Beignets greasy.
Fry until golden on one side. Turn and complete frying.
Lift them from the oil with a slotted tool and put them into the sack with the Sugar.
Shake to coat them, then remove and put them on a platter.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Copyright 2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah

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