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The difference between classic French beignets and the New Orleans-style fritters seen can be found in the preparation of the dough. The former is made from pâte à choux, while those from the Big Easy are made from leavened dough that’s cut into squares and fried until crispy on the outside and airy within. Though we’ll often serve these as dessert, they’re best enjoyed in the morning with a cup of chicory-flavored coffee.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Recipe: New Orleans-Style Beignets

Yield: Makes about 18



In a mixing bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the milk, egg, butter, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine.


Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until a smooth, tacky dough forms (you can also do this in a stand mixer on low speed). Scrape the dough to a greased bowl and turn it over a couple of times. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the dough doubles in size, 2 to 3 hours.


In a Field Dutch oven, heat 1 to 2 inches of oil over medium heat to 350°F. While the oil heats, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 8-by-10-inch rectangle. Dip a bench scraper or pizza cutter into flour and cut the dough into 2-inch squares, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.


Working in batches of 6 beignets at a time, fry the dough until puffed and golden brown underneath, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the beignets over and fry until golden brown on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels and dust generously with confectioner’s sugar. Serve warm.

Seasoning Rating: Best

Frying is just about the best way to build seasoning in a cast iron Dutch oven.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.