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Chocolate-Filled Beignets

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Yields 50 to 60 beignets, with a bit of dough leftover.

Demure outside, with a rich surprise inside. A marked contrast between the light, crisp dough and the rich, creamy chocolate is key to the appeal of these pastries. The better the chocolate, the better the beignet. I like Valrhona.

For the beignets:
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 18 oz. (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
For the ganache centers:
  • 14 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, very soft but not melted or greasy
Mix the dough:

Warm the milk in a small pan and add the yeast to it. Stir gently until dissolved. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend the dry ingredients briefly.

Set the mixer on low speed and slowly pour in the milk mixture, mixing until the dry ingredients are moistened. Slowly dribble in the eggs, mixing for a few seconds between additions. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom to get any flour missed by the paddle. Start mixing again and slowly pour in the melted butter.

Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is incorporated and the dough becomes smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides and bottom of the bowl, about 8 minutes. Test the dough by greasing your hands, picking up the dough, and stretching it gently—it should extend easily without tearing.

Chocolate-Filled Beignets Recipe

Put the finished dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Check the dough once in a while—if it’s rising, gently push it down.

Make the ganache centers:

Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate, let it sit for 30 seconds to start melting, and then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let the ganache cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, but be sure it stays liquid.

Make sure your butter is really soft and creamy (but not at all melted) and then whisk or beat it into the room-temperature ganache, a little at a time, until completely blended.

The ganache should be shiny, showing that it’s emulsified (see the area around the blender). If it’s grainy (see the ganache around the rim), mix with a hand blender or whisk to re-emulsify. Chill, stirring often, until set up but not hard, about 40 minutes. It should have the consistency of buttercream frosting.

Chocolate-Filled Beignets Recipe

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain tip and fill the bag with the ganache. Pipe out 50 to 60 blobs about the size of malted milk balls.

Smooth off any points. Freeze the centers until they’re quite firm, at least an hour (up to two days if wrapped).

Chocolate-Filled Beignets Recipe
Wrap the chocolate with the dough:

Arrange your work station so you have the chilled beignet dough, the tray of ganache centers, a little flour for dipping your hands, and a lightly floured baking sheet to hold the wrapped beignets. Fill a large pot about one-third full with fresh oil and let it heat up as you shape the beignets. Have a deep-frying thermometer ready.

Dip your hands in the flour and pull off a small piece of dough about the size of a prune.

Flatten the dough slightly between your fingers and then wrap it around the chocolate center. Try to make the wrapping as thin as possible, but avoid patches that are so thin you can see the center through them.

Chocolate-Filled Beignets Recipe

Pinch off the excess dough and massage the beignet with your fingertips to be sure all holes are closed and the seams are tight.

Chocolate-Filled Beignets Recipe

Roll the beignet between your hands to smooth. Set the beignet on the floured baking sheet. Continue until all the centers are wrapped. If the dough starts to soften or rise too much while you’re working, put everything in the freezer for a few minutes to chill.

Fry the beignets until puffed and brown:

When the oil registers 350°F on a thermometer, start frying, adding just a few beignets at a time. The beignets will float, so gently press them down with a spoon or a wire skimmer so they brown evenly.

Fry until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes, and drain on paper towels. Serve hot, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, with a pitcher of crème Anglaise on the side, if you like.

Chocolate-Filled Beignets Recipe
Make Ahead Tips

You can shape and wrap the beignets and freeze them for up to two days on a baking sheet covered with plastic. (Don't let them tough one another or the dough wrapping may stick and rip later.) Take them from the freezer no more than 30 minutes before cooking; you want the dough to thaw but not get too soft or start rising. Fry them according to the directions in the recipe.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per beignet; Calories (kcal): 140; Fat (g): 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): 4; Protein (g): 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4; Carbohydrates (g): 12; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 70; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Ben Fink

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