I Fried and Went to Heaven

Yesterday I seriously thought I had died and gone to hell.

I had a lovely weekend in Seattle, but the minute IFBC was over it was quite downhill from there. The 18 or so hours before I would arrive back in California involved an excruciatingly painful event (think childbirth) that left me sleep-deprived and limping, an airport clock that was exactly one hour behind (come on people, Spring Forward!), and close encounters with staining liquids (both the hot and cold kind).

Normally this is not, to put it mildly, the sort of day that makes me want to be bold and adventurous. It is the sort of day that makes me want to seek shelter under a nice ample rock. Certainly not the kind of day that typically makes me say to myself, “This seems like the perfect time do the thing you’ve never done before because it terrifies you more than just about anything else in the world! Why not just go ahead and Deep Fry Something?”

Certainly that idea wasn’t borne of optimism that I would succeed. It wasn’t borne of a need to eat rich food, which I had been doing all weekend. It wasn’t borne of an itch to nudge myself out of my comfort zone; I was quite uncomfortable enough, thank you very much. And it was stupid, because you really don’t want to trust yourself with large amounts of hot oil when you’re tired and cranky.

The only possible explanation is that… Well, I suppose I don’t exactly have one. Maybe it was my subconscious telling me that I might as well get this dreadfully horrific experience out of the way while I was on a roll, while things were already so bad that one more bad thing might just pass unnoticed, or less-noticed than it otherwise might.

So I made beignets, and they were good. I mean, they were actually really good.

I’m not writing about how I made them, because I still need to figure out more of the art and craft of this fried dough stuff. That and, frankly, I’m not entirely sure how I made them. There was some yeast dough. There was a skillet containing half a gallon of weapon-grade oil. Beyond that, things are a little fuzzy.

Then why I am I writing about them at all? I don’t know; I didn’t say I wasn’t still tired. There’s probably a take-home for me in here somewhere, beyond the obvious one that my fear of frying is history (look for more fried stuff from me, and feel free to call me on it if you don’t see some soon). After a nap I might be able to think about it more clearly.

For some fantastic fried dough masterpieces, I suggest:

Beignets NOLA (Le Pétrin)

Beignets au Levain (au levain!)

Sweet Potato Bombolini (Simplicious)

Chocolate Cake Doughnut Holes and Filled Doughnuts (use real butter)

Beignets and Doughnuts (Passionate About Baking)

Post a comment » 28 Comments

  1. Have a good sleep or two Susan, and next time you need to go to heaven again, why not fry and dip in chocolate?:)

  2. Wow- you sure were adventurous. These look amazing. I think I deep fry about three times a year, if that. Isnt it amazing that some people do it all the time.

  3. Goodness! While I might want to *eat* those after a frazzle-filled couple of days, making them? Yeah, right :) They look gorgeous, so I can’t wait for a recipe!

  4. Oh MY, those look incredibly good!

    Next you’ll have to try maple squares – basically beignets with maple icing. I’m not sure where my mom got the recipe – might have been Betty Crocker (the old stand-by red and white gingham cover) or the Joy of Cooking.

    But basically it’s a beignet, and then you make an icing out of powdered sugar, maple extract and a little dab of milk. Mmmmm MMM!

  5. Yee gods, woman! I hope you heal quickly. I’m so impressed by your ability to deal with hot oil when not running on all cylinders and still turn out something luscious.

    Meanwhile, now that the degree is done, I’ve given into the inspiration you’ve given me over the many months of reading your blog and baked my first sourdough loaves. I’ll need to work on my techniques a lot more, but they’re not bad at all for a first go if I do say so. Yes, I’ve joined the cult. ;)

  6. Des beignets! miam, miam! I’m so sorry about your horrific day, but these babies look delicious.

  7. you crazy woman, start deep frying after all that and still make it work. Mind you for subconsious voices that are telling you to do certain things. You’re lucky it worked out this time… but you never know what they might say next time ..whooooaaah…
    I’m not a deep frying fan, that is frying myself… love the taste of those fried fritters, beignets and “oliebollen”… yummy!
    Take a nap girl and a beignet or two!

  8. sizzzzzzzzle deee deee, where is the chicory coffee?

  9. Excellent way to lift up your spirits any day! They are gorgeous and I want some! I just suffered through a couple of months of Bottereaux, a seasonal, traditional (France) fried square of donut sprinkled with sugar. They would stare me in the face every time I went to a Boulangerie to buy bread and I resisted! Now I see these fabulous-looking donuts and I want!

  10. Wow, Susan! I am sorry the trip back home was so horrid but I completely believe that “l’énergie du désespoir” (energy born out of despair) is what made you bite the bullet and start frying. Although I am not a huge fan of commercial fried food, I have the most wonderful memories of the beignets (sweet or savory) that my mom used to make. So, fry ahead and I’ll follow you!

  11. To join the crowd, here, I’m sorry you had such a lousy day! But there are two ups to the myriad downs: 1, the convention was apparently AWESOME and totally unmarred by your streak of bad luck, and 2, you have tasty comfort food now. Really tasty… *drool* I really want that recipe…

    It just occurred to me that a lot of people around here want your recipes. (I see choruses of “Well, duh,” and “Of course! Crazy not to!” and emphatic nodding in my future…) Do you realize by sharing your yumminess with the world, you’ve essentially tanked what little chance you had to have secret family recipes? People will be beating down your doors with pitiful pleas of “but I want to taste it!” Well, okay, maybe not that far. But you will get a lot of not-so-gentle reminders here on your blog. LOL

  12. Sorry you had a bad travel experience :/ But those beignets look AMAZING! :)

  13. Wow, those look super tasty.

  14. Mmmm, these look amazing! YUM. I love beignets but have never ventured to try them myself!

  15. Yeah, you can’t really go wrong with fried dough. Although I like Zita’s suggestion of dipping them in fried chocolate… that’s just all sorts of wrong, but in a really good way!

  16. Oops! I meant just regular chocolate… I haven’t had coffee yet haha

  17. Can’t wait to see the recipe once you perfect it! We enjoyed the best beignets I’ve ever had at Boulette’s Larder in SF recently. That is the stuff of heaven. Hope the rest of your week is happier!

  18. i just have to commend you on your title–so clever, and so true. :)

  19. Sorry about your bad experience – at least these look great! :) I’m sad I missed the conference this past weekend especially since I’m going to Seattle tonight for a week!

  20. Sometimes the best way to recover from a rough day is to make something really really really devilish!!! I spent New Years Eve making doughnuts and then I consumed them one by one ALL NIGHT whilst everyone else was beginning to make dietary promises!! muahhaha! Hope the rest of your week cheers up. :)

  21. As the culinarian Homer Simpson once said: ” Doughnuts! . . . is there anything they can’t do?

  22. This is not how things work for me. When I’m in a bad way, anything I attempt in the kitchen does NOT work out for me. I’m happy that you had success!

  23. Oh my gosh, honey. I hope you didn’t burn your flesh, ignite the innocent bystander, or burn down the kitchen. Seriously, there’s a reason I rarely fry food: I’ve seen horrible kitchen fires and a few scars. Please tell us that you are okay and that the nightmare of the homeward travels are very much behind you. Until then, rest and restore that beautiful soul of yours.

  24. I’m actually scared of deep frying anything, so I rarely do it. If I do, I use small and tall pan, and fry what ever it is one by one. It takes longer, but at least I feel safer and don’t have any splatter everywhere. I might do the same if I make this beignet. They look delicious despite of your lack of energy. Hope you will be able to sleep well after having one or two of this beignet.

  25. Nobody needs a day like that. I would not, however, have the energy to do anything in my kitchen after experiencing what you did.

  26. Gadfry why does flying or is that frying have to be such an incredible story. Our last flight was such a joy – NOT or is that knot.
    At any rate these beignets look like heaven so it would seem the landing was fabulous!

  27. They look really good! They are on my to-do list, I hope to follow in your footsteps soon (minus the painful events)

  28. Hot oil scares me, too! I’ve never fried anything in my kitchen before, well, deep-fried, that is. I think you’ve inspired me to give it a try. Your beignets look fabulous! And, how I love beignets!! I’m definitely going to have to try my hand at this frying thing. Hope you’re well-rested and no longer in pain :)

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