Catholic Recipe: Beignets
There are several interesting food customs associated with this feast day. In the past, the milkmen in Rome brought gifts of milk and rennet to their customers, from which the cook made a dish much like our junket. Chocolate junket, with a dash of apricot brandy added, could be served as a dessert on this day.
In the provinces of France children make the rounds of the neighborhood, begging for flour to make apple fritters (beignets de pommes). If fresh apples are not available in your locality at this time of year, make these plan Beignets, which are like raised doughnuts but are square instead of round.
Scald milk; stir in sugar, salt, and shortening; cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast into warm water; stir until dissolved. Add lukewarm milk mixture, egg, and half the flour. Beat well with mixer or spoon for 1 minute. Add remaining flour and more if needed to make soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled — about 1 hour. Punch down; let rise again about 1/2 hour. Roll out into square a scant 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2-1/2- to 3-inch squares. Place on greased baking sheet; let rise until light — about 1 hour. Do not handle while rising or they will fall. Fry in deep fat, heated to 375°, for 2 minutes or until brown on each side; drain on absorbent paper. Serve piping hot, sprinkled generously with confectioners' sugar. Makes about 2 dozen Beignets.Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965