How to Make Delicious Pastry Dough Used in Crullers and Beignets

If you love donuts, you might have heard of crullers and beignets. These are two types of fried pastries that are popular in different parts of the world. Crullers are twisted or ring-shaped donuts that are often glazed or dusted with sugar. Beignets are square or rectangular pillows of dough that are usually sprinkled with powdered sugar. Both of these pastries are made with a special kind of pastry dough called choux pastry (also known as pate a choux). In this article, we will explain what choux pastry is, how to make it, and how to use it to create delicious crullers and beignets.

What is Choux Pastry?

Choux pastry is a light and airy pastry batter that is cooked on the stovetop before being piped and baked or fried. It is made with four basic ingredients: water, butter, flour, and eggs. The water and butter are boiled together in a saucepan, then the flour is added and stirred vigorously until a smooth dough forms. The dough is then transferred to a mixing bowl and beaten with eggs until it becomes glossy and elastic. The resulting batter is ready to be shaped and cooked.

Choux pastry is versatile and can be used to make various sweet and savory pastries, such as eclairs, profiteroles, cream puffs, gougeres, and cheese puffs. It is also the base for crullers and beignets, which are fried instead of baked.

How to Make Crullers with Choux Pastry

To make crullers, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Oil for frying
  • Glaze or sugar for coating

The steps are as follows:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour all at once, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
  2. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and let it cool slightly. Using an electric mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The batter should be smooth, shiny, and thick enough to hold its shape when piped.
  3. Fill a large piping bag fitted with a star tip with the batter. Pipe 4-inch rings or twists of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some space between them. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes to firm up.
  4. In a large pot or deep-fryer, heat oil to 375°F. Carefully lift the dough rings or twists from the parchment and slide them into the hot oil, a few at a time. Fry for about 3 minutes per side, turning once, until golden and puffed. Drain on paper towels and let them cool slightly.
  5. Dip the crullers in your preferred glaze or sugar coating and enjoy.

How to Make Beignets with Choux Pastry

To make beignets, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

The steps are as follows:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour all at once, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
  2. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and let it cool slightly. Using an electric mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The batter should be smooth, shiny, and thick enough to drop from a spoon.
  3. In a large pot or deep-fryer, heat oil to 375°F. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter into the hot oil, a few at a time. Fry for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels and let them cool slightly.
  4. Dust the beignets with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Conclusion

Choux pastry is a simple and versatile pastry dough that can be used to make delicious crullers and beignets. These fried pastries are easy to make and perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack. Try them out and enjoy the light and airy texture and the sweet and rich flavor.

According to Baker Bettie, choux pastry is also used to make French cruller donuts, which are similar to crullers but have a more delicate and tender texture. You can make them by following the same steps as for crullers, but using a smaller star tip and frying them for a shorter time. You can also experiment with different glazes and toppings, such as chocolate, caramel, or nuts.