Hello again! I have not been posting as much as I would like to... Starting a business is a lot harder and takes a lot more time than I had anticipated. Specially because I am trying to navigate a whole new side of Paris I wasn’t familiar with. Hahah All things considered I think all is going well and I am very happy with my new endeavors.
This year I have also started teaching pastry! This for me is the highlight of my week... so there’s also that to prepare. We have been discovering the world of French pastry one delicious recipe at a time and so far it has been great. I for one enjoy those 3 hours with my students a lot, and lucky me they do to!
These are the news on the Belula front that have kept me away from the blog. I need to be more organized. I know. Every Monday I say that to myself, and although I’m getting better... I still have a lot of ground to conquer. I will be back. That much I can tell you :)
So, I thought that I would share a recipe for a delicious pastry typical from Lyon. The word bugne means "beignet" in French, which means donut in English, but don’t be confused they are not the same. They are an old pastry that existed already in Roman times and were consumed at the time of "caranval" or Mardi Gras. Almost every European country has its own version. I got to know this French version in school and I loved them.
Even though bugne and beignet mean the same thing, they denominate different ones: the former refers to thin pastry, scented with lemon, that is deep fried in hot oil and it’s crunchy. It has no bakers yeast. The latter refers to donuts, a thicker though, that has yeast and it’s softer in texture. They can be filled with different creams and they can also be glazed. The version from Lyon are only sprinkled with powdered sugar or rolled in regular sugar. Completely up to you.
Bugnes are easy to prepare. The tricky part is that the dough could get sticky when rolling it out so it’s best to work with it when it’s cold.
Makes 60 bugnes
Flour 400 g
Sugar 50 g
Baking powder 11 g
Salt 1 g
Lemon zests 1 u
Butter 100 g
Eggs 4 u
Sunflower oil 2 l
Sugar for rolling the pastries
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together all the dry ingredients – flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and lemon zests. Add the butter (it must be soft) and using the paddle attachment mix it in. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed.
It might be a little sticky, even if you are tempted to add more flour, don’t. It works. Just be patient.
Transfer the dough to lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough for a few minutes until it has come together. Don’t over work it. Roll it out up to half a centimeter, transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper (lightly floured also) and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 1 mm (as thin as you can). This can prove tricky because the dough is pretty sticky… so make sure your work surface is always lightly flowered. It will prevent the dough from breaking and sticking to the table.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. It has to be cold so that you can properly shape the bugnes, otherwise you won’t be able to cut them. If this is the case, just cover once again and put the dough back in the fridge. Patience is very important in pastry making!! I learned it the hard way!
Fill a large pan with approximately 2 litters of sunflower oil. Heat it to about 170/180 degrees Celsius. I have a thermometer, so if you have one too it’s better to use it! If you don’t, you can test the temperature of the oil with small pieces of dough. It need to start foaming right away and the piece of pastry should rise to the surface in no more than 5 seconds. Than your oil is ta good temperature. Otherwise it’s still cold. Be patient!
Once it’s cold enough, using a knife (my choice) or a pasta cutter wheel if you have one, cut the dough into rhombus shapes (kind of like tilted rectangles). Now cut a small window in the middle of the rhombus.
Line a baking tray with paper towel. Set a skimmer next to it.
Prepare a bowl with plenty of sugar or a fine mesh and powdered sugar, this is up to you. I tried both ways as you can see on the photos.
Fry the bugnes in batches. How many per batch will depend on the size of your pan. I fired 5 or 6 at a time. Turn them over after 2 or 3 minutes (they have to be beautifully colored) and cook until golden. Using a skimmer remove and set on the previously lined baking tray.
Transfer to the sugar bowl and roll the pastries in it until properly covered in sugar. To do this the bugnes have to be warm.
You can now enjoy this delicious pastries!