Crème Fraîche Beignets à la Rose and Lemon
In cooking, there are few things more decadent than forming balls of dough out of crème fraîche, adding excessive quantities of butter, sugar, and various sundry of other ingredients that don't quite manage to convince you that they are actually healthy, and then frying them in boiling oil. Great fun, and sometimes it even doesn't obliterate the kitchen afterward! (In my case, the pain of cooking over an electric burner that turned off when the slightest drop of water or oil hit it more than compensated for it somehow not producing as much of a mess afterwards as it normally did.)
Regardless, the end result was still something that I considered to be well worth it: fluffy beignets, soft and tender, delicious with the flavor of lemon and rose and with the beautiful elegance of freshly chopped strawberries layered over them, the faint coating of sugar and cinnamon adding zest and energy. Good either piping hot or long after they've been cooked, these little puffs of joy are sure to be a wonderful complement to any dinner, and one that is simple to make, as well.
I have adapted this recipe from Traditional Croatian Dishes, by Bruno Simonovic and Ivo Semencic, but frankly by the time I was done with the recipe, with switching it to the imperial system, matching it to the French ingredients I have available to me, and matching it to my tastes, very little remains of the adjectives of "traditional" or "Croatian." Still, this small cookbook is one that I quite like so far, being dense, well-illustrated, and simple to follow, although my current trials with it have revealed sections where it lacks appropriate detail. For example, in this recipe, the specification was originally for "250 grams fresh cheese." This rather vague interpretation does little to enable one to correctly make the recipe according to the traditional format... although in my case, I never had the intent to do such a thing.
- 2/3 pound thick crème fraîche
- 4 tablespoons butter, sliced into small pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons rose blossom water
- Oil, for frying
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Strawberries, for garnish, sliced thinly
- Place the crème fraîche into a bowl. Add in the butter eggs, sugar, flour, raisins, lemon zest, and rose water.
- Mix with a blender until the ingredients are a homogeneous mass. It should be a very thick and viscous liquid.
- Heat oil in a saucepan, using increasing sizes depending on how much oil you are willing to use and how many beignets one wants to make in a single batch. Once dropping in small experimental drops of the batter produces extensive sizzling, drop in spoonfuls. Fry until they are browned on both sides, turning them over as necessary, then removing with a slotted spoon, to place onto something to drain. Repeat until all the batter is used.
- Coat with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add chopped strawberries for garnish. Serve either hot or at room temperature.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas