It’s been quite the week in Ireland.
The visit of President Obama here tomorrow, while noteworthy, pales in comparison to the significance of the state visit made by Queen Elizabeth to our shores just before him. It was often moving and, at times, quite sparkly.
Alas, my royal invitations having been clearly lost in the post, I had to make do with watching events on the telly box like everyone else. The closest I got to any actual sparkles was some bubbly at a reception for the Jacob’s Creek Add A Little Sparkle campaign. The event was all about bringing a little something special to the everyday, which is what I like to think I do, from time to time at least, for the average spud.
While the Queen dined on some classic Irish potato dishes during her visit, including boxty served at her opening lunch with the President, and smoked potato champ at the state banquet in Dublin Castle, I thought I might offer up something a little different, and bringing spuds into the dessert realm is always guaranteed to do that.
Beignet translates as ‘fried dough’ and that, pretty much, is what these potato beignets are. While the dough used for other beignets is often choux pastry, there is nothing involving quite so much effort here. This dough is just a simple, slightly enriched and sweetened combination of cooked potato and flour. Just boil, steam or bake a few potatoes to get the cooked flesh that you need for the recipe and away you go. Given the week that’s in it, British Queens would, of course, be a very appropriate choice of spud.
The recipe itself is adapted from one included by Lucy Madden in her book The Potato Year, one of the more intriguing collections of potato recipes that I count in my collection. You can eat these on their own as a sweet snack or perhaps combine with some fresh fruit and sour cream as a dessert.
- 300g cooked potato flesh, which has been pushed through a ricer or sieve and allowed to cool
- 100g plain flour
- 1 tblsp sugar
- small pinch of salt
- 20g butter, melted
- 1 egg yolk
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 0.25 tsp orange zest
- vegetable oil (such as peanut oil) for frying
- icing sugar for dusting (optional)
- Add the mashed potato, flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, egg yolk, vanilla and orange zest to a medium-sized saucepan. Place over a low heat and, using a wooden spoon, work the ingredients together for a minute or two, producing a dough which is slightly tacky to the touch. Remove from the heat and allow the dough to cool completely.
- When you’re ready to start cooking (and eating) the beignets, roll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of approx. 25mm. Cut into small rounds or squares, about 2-3cm across.
- Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a generous coating of oil. When hot, but not smoking, start adding pieces of dough to the oil in batches. Fry each batch for about a minute or so on each side until golden, replenishing the oil as necessary. Remove using a slotted spoon and allow to drain briefly on kitchen paper. Serve straight away, dusted with some icing sugar if you like.
- This dough could also be used as a pastry for a sweet tart: just roll out, apply a fruity filling and bake, much as per these potato-apple parcels.
- Makes around 50 little beignets