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Convent donut recipe (long)

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  • piccola Jan 1, 2006 09:27 AM
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I mentioned this recipe in the build-up to the holidays. Every year for the past 15 years, my mom and I have made a few batches of these donuts - it's her mom's recipe as handed down by the nuns at the convent.

If you start at 9 a.m., you'll be done by 4 p.m., including resting time for the dough (and yourself), a lunch break and clean-up.

Beignes des soeurs
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1 c. butter
6 eggs, separated
1 c. milk
2 c. sugar
8-10 c. pastry flour
0.5 tsp. salt
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda (goes in the milk)
pinch of nutmeg or orange zest
oil for frying

Put baking soda in milk. Let rest approx. 5 mins.

Cream butter, adding sugar gradually. Beat in egg yolks, nutmeg/zest, milk.

In clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites till firm peaks form. Fold into butter mixture.

Sift flour with baking powder. Add gradually to butter mixture until you get a firm (but not hard) dough. You'll need to use your hands at some point. It shouldn't feel sticky.

Let dough rest 2 hours, covered with a clean dishcloth.

Separate dough into several portions of manageable size. On floured surface, roll out one portion until half an inch thick. Cut into donut shape usind drinking glass and thimble (note: this gives better results than any cookie-cutter I've seen). Set aside scraps to re-roll at the end.

Place donut "holes" in a bowl, and donuts on wax paper. Repeat with other portions of dough. When all "fresh" dough has been used, re-roll scraps and repeat.

Heat oil in wok or kettle to 360 degrees. Fry 4-6 donuts at a time until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Make sure to top up oil as necessary.

Once donuts have cooled, you can put them in a ziploc bag with powedered sugar and shake.

Makes approx. 100 small donuts. They freeze very well.

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  1. I've been watching and waiting for this, Piccola. Thanks to you, your mom and all those nuns! In fact, it sounds similar to the method used by my Maine grandmother in the late 40s. All of her recipes are sadly lost. And I really like the drinking glass/thimble technique! Happy New Year to you and yours. pat

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pat Hammond

      My French-Canadian great-grandmother used to make something very similar when I was a very young kid, too. If I was patient and kept her company during the process, I would be the lucky recipient of the holes.

      Thanks so much for posting the recipe, Piccola.

    2. Just sorry it took so long to post it...

      1. I'm curious - what kind of oil do you use?

        1 Reply
        1. re: stefzehn

          I'm not sure if the original OP will respond, as this is an older thread, but I would use soybean (vegetable oil, as labeled in supermarkets) or refined peanut oil for frying.

          There are many other oil options with high smoke points, but these two are the ones I use most frequently for deep frying.