My mother was born in New Orleans, Louisana. She introduced our family to delicious southern-style cooking. I’m going to New Orleans this fall and can’t wait to try gluten free beignets, a French, biscuit-like donut, served warm. Hopefully, the famous Cafe du Monde offers one. Meanwhile, this recipe turned out amazing!
UPDATE September 2018:
I went to Cafe du Monde but while they sell a gluten free beignet mix online on their website, they do not offer anything gluten free at their cafe. A matter of fact, the management there doesn’t know what the word gluten means.
After going to New Orleans this month, I realized that the center of the beignet should have holes in it. So, I have updated this recipe. Enjoy!
I’m not a big fan of warm donuts such as Krispy Kreme. I think they taste too greasy. These gluten free beignets do not taste greasy. They are so yummy that I blew my diet over them. Then, I had my gluten-eating neighbor pick some up. She enjoyed them as well.
Rather than use evaporated milk in this recipe like the famous Cafe Monde in New Orleans uses, I used buttermilk (which is an ingredient in their beignet mix) because of its high acidity level. Gluten free donuts need all of the help they can get. Acidity in baked or fried goods helps leaven the product in addition to baking powder and baking soda.
See the tips section for my recommendations for egg-free substitute.
1 - 2 quarts neutral-flavored high smoke point oil. for frying (extra-light olive oil, canola, etc.)
In a large bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, potato starch, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
Cut the butter into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives. Do not cut the butter into tiny pieces. Beignets should have large holes in the center. The size of the butter pieces will determine the approximate size of the holes, a little smaller actually.
Add the buttermilk and gently stir using a spoon.
Whisk together the egg and vanilla and add to the bowl; stir until just combined. (Do not over mix or your beignets will turn out tough.) Set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oil to 375ºF.
Place the dough on a surface that is lightly dusted with potato starch. Dust the dough with a little additional potato starch. Need for about 15 - 30 seconds and pat out and shape into two 2-1/2 x 12-1/2-inch strips of dough, almost 1/2-inch high.
Slice into ten 2-1/2-inch squares using a bench/pastry dough cutter or knife. Fry in the preheated oil in small batches for 1 minute on each side, a total of 2 minutes. (I only fry two at a time. Overcrowding lowers the oil temperature, reduces browning, and slows down the cooking process.) Remove from the oil and transfer to a plate lined with at least four layers of paper towels to drain. Cook the remaining beignets.
Using a fine mesh strainer, shake tons of confectioners' sugar on top of each beignet. Serve warm.
For egg-free: I suggest omitting the egg and replacing with 3 tablespoons of white bean juice from a can such as navy beans; or try increasing the baking soda to a total of 1 teaspoon.