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Spud Sunday: Sparkly Spuds

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.

Queen Elizabeth II

The original QE II, pictured at this
week's state banquet in Dublin Castle.
The lady does bling like no other.
(image AP Photo, from forbes.com)

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.

Potato beignets

Not your usual Sunday spuds: potato beignets

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Potato Beignets

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.

You’ll need:

  • 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)

The Steps:

  • 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.

The Variations:

  • 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.

The Results:

  • Makes around 50 little beignets


  1. Yuri

    These are so cute :D

  2. Daily Spud

    Glad you like them, Yuri – cute is good :)

  3. Lori

    They have no idea what they were missing by not having you there! These beignets sound wonderful. Not to overlook the spud, but that orange and vanilla flavor sets these apart from the sugary sweet ones I find here in the States.

  4. Daily Spud

    Hey Lori you’re right – they definitely missed out on a whole spudophile dimension to the visit :D And I have to say that the orange + vanilla dough is one that I will likely try using for other things, not just beignets – the combination is lovely.

  5. 5 Star Foodie

    They are so pretty! perfect flavors with orange zest & vanilla, yum!

  6. Daily Spud

    Ah yes, they did turn out pretty in the picture, Natasha – I like when that happens :)

  7. ValleyWriter

    The slightly sweet aspect of these has me quite intrigued. And I love the little flowery shapes!

  8. sippitysup

    Orange, vanilla and a visit from the Queen. Woot! GREG

  9. Daily Spud

    ValleyWriter: Thanks! I guess anything sweet where regular potatoes are involved is bound to intrigue :)

    sippitysup: Woot is right!

  10. Catherine

    It’s no wonder the Queen is smiling like that – I would too, if I had such gorgeous diamonds dripping from me! They don’t look as gorgeous as your little beignets though :) bet they’re delish!

  11. Daily Spud

    Indeed so, Catherine – jewels like that should bring a sparkle to anybody’s smile :) Glad you like the look of the beignets too!

  12. Orla

    These sound lovely as a dessert! :) But I was just wondering say if I was going to have them after a Sunday Roast of lovely Beef…what kind of Spuds would you recommend with the Beef so as not to have to much Spuds in the meal?? I was thinking a nice light mash and then the Beignets for after??

  13. Daily Spud

    Hi Orla, a nice light mash sounds lovely with the beef. What I would recommend on the dessert front is to just serve a small number of beignets each along with, say, some fresh fruit (and sour cream or yoghurt if you like), so that it’s not a complete spud overload – also means that only a small part of your dessert has been fried in oil!

  14. Orla

    Ahh that sounds wonderful!! Thanks a million, found myself some nice Beef so all I have to do now is cook this wonderful meal!! Also, I never knew potatoes could make such interesting and yummy looking desserts! Thanks :)

  15. Daily Spud

    Hope the meal goes well Orla! Spuds can have sometimes surprising applications, that’s for sure :)

  16. Tangled Noodle

    Yes, Betty can certainly do the bling, but I do recall some sharp ensembles by Ms. Potato Head on this very site. 8-) As for these beignets, I am ready for a dozen. They looks so crispy and golden!

  17. Jamie

    The Original QE II? Ha ha ha! I would have loved to eaten with the Queen but I would much rather we have dined on these pretty, tempting little potato beignet. Mmmmm I have to try these! Oooh everything you make is so good!

  18. Daily Spud

    Tangled Noodle: It’s true, Mrs. Potato Head does rather like to cut a dash from time to time! As for the beignets, I guess I just need to send you some, now don’t I? :)

    Jamie: Dining with the Queen is all very fine and well, but I’d be even happier if it was your good self who stopped by for beignets and tea :)

  19. audra

    oh my gosh, these are adorable! and the ingredients…you would never guess! i HAVE to try these…i will get out my finest china and silver, of course… thank you!


  20. Ilona

    Hi there from the Netherlands! Just wanted to thank you for this recipe.. I made a variation using tiny bits of spicy chorizo in the dough, together with the vanilla and orange zest. May sound strange, but it turned out to be a wonderful combination of sweet, fruity and savory.
    Here’s a pic :)
    Greetings! Ilona

  21. Ilona

    Oops, it seems I’ve posted a broken link! Here’s the correct one:

    :) -x-

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