From chef Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry, these are the best damn beignets outside of New Orleans.
1. Combine the bread flour and pastry flour in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla seeds over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Add the flour mixture and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, until it’s a shiny paste, free from lumps and forms.
3. Transfer the batter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue mixing on medium speed until the batter cools to a warm room temperature.
4. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or a countertop fryer, heat 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) of canola oil to 375°F (190°C).
5. Using a soup spoon, scoop up 2 to 2½ tablespoons of batter and ease it into the hot oil using another spoon. Don’t crowd the pot. Fry in batches of 4 to 8 depending on the size of your pot. Fry for about 5 minutes, agitating and flipping the beignets so they cook evenly. If any of the beignets fill with air and don’t want to flip, use a spider or another long-handled skimmer to hold them under the oil for about 30 seconds. Repeat as needed until you can flip and fry them like the others.
6. You should see the beignets expand once almost right away and you may think they’re ready soon after that, but they’re not. They need to expand a second time, inflating so much that they tear on one side. After that second inflation, continue to brown them well. Remember, this is a wet, eggy dough, and it really needs to cook! Only once you get that double expansion and achieve a deep, dark color are they ready to come out of the oil.
7. Transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil, then coat with powdered sugar. Serve hot! Continue frying in batches, but serve each batch moments after it comes out—don’t wait!
Originally featured in The goop Cookbook Club: Huckleberry