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Sep 17, 2000 08:17 PM

Chocolate Beignets Trial (moved from Manhattan board)

  • d

I gave it a try this weekend and, while they were good, they weren't great. I know I'm missing something or some crucial step. I'm taking another course at the French Culinary Institute and I'll ask my instructor on Tuesday evening for his insights.

Here's what I did. Thawed the frozen puff pastry and then cut each sheet along the folds into three pieces. I floured and rolled them out to fit atop a ravioli form. I filled the first batch too much, I think, with the chocolate ganache (2 parts semisweet chocolate, 1 part heavy cream). Then laid a second sheet over the form and rolled out the little raviolis.

I didn't have a thermometer to monitor the peanut oil temperature, so that may have been part of the problem. I dropped in a scrap of pastry every so often to test it and, when the piece started to bubble up immediately, I figured it was ready. The pastries turned light golden very quickly, but then had a tendency to burst at the seams, leaking chocolate into the oil.

I drained them on paper towels and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. The outsides were crisp and the insides tender, and they tasted great, like zeppoles with chocolate. But I didn't like them bursting open. So I tried again, with fresh oil, using much less filling. It happened again. I used a fork to crimp the sides of all the rest of the little raviolis, dusted them with flour, and put 'em in the freezer to play with again next weekend.

Anybody have any advice or insights as to how to keep the little pockets from bursting?

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  1. The problem is that your filling liquifies at cooking temperatures. You would have better luck using chocolate squares or piles of chips. You would have the same problem trying to use ganache as a filling in croissants as well.
    Of course, you could develop a recipe that had starch and/or egg yolk in it to thicken when it is fried. If you want to play with this, steam a dab on a plate, and if it doesn't run away on you, you have it. Otherwise, add more whatever, and try again. Most important, write down what you did so you won't for get next time.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Katherine

      Thanks, Katherine! I'll bet you're right about the chips vs. ganache. We'll see what difference there is next weekend, when I fry the frozen ones.

      1. re: Dena

        Yeah, I was going to say, try freezing the ganache after you've formed it to the right size for filling. Let us know how it goes.

        1. re: Caitlin

          Okay. Too late to use an egg wash (I'll try that on the next batch I make), but I'll bet the frozen ones will work a little better. I'll report back on this next week. Thanks.

          1. re: Dena

            wasn't the original dessert at the brasserie covered in a caramel sauce? did you make that too? i'm always looking for tips on caramel sauce.

            i didn't try the beignets this weekend because my friend who is in the pastry program at the french culinary institute was preparing for an examination in which she will present her instructor with five different plated desserts and he will choose the best one. she had friends over and made all five desserts for us; i literally ate five desserts. after that i wasn't up to the beignets.

            i think the egg yolk idea sounds better than straight chocolate; the chocolate would eventually harden and might not be as puddinglike as i would imagine the filling should be.

            1. re: emily

              No caramel sauce -- caramel ice cream.
              And I wouldn't add egg to the chocolate, if that's what you meant. I wouldn't worry about the chocolate hardening at all, since it's a dish meant to be served immediately after preparing.
              Sounds like you had quite a weekend. Let's save those beignets for another time!

              1. re: Dena
                Jason "Fry dem suckas" Perlow

                So when does a beignet become a zeppole?

                "Are you pondering what's im pondering pinky?"

                Hmm. Zeppoles. Dip Em in chocolate fondue.

                Thats almost too obscene to comprehend.


        2. re: Dena

          In addition to using plain chocolate or a thicker ganache, I think you may have a problem just in the seal of the puff pastry. I might try using an egg wash on the seam areas before you seal the beignets and let it dry a bit in the refrigerator after sealing.

      2. j
        Jason "Cafe du Monde" Perlow

        I know I'm late to this discussion... but arent beignets the things they make in New Orleans? Essentially fried dough with powdered sugar on top?

        Or is there more to beignets than meets the eye?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jason "Cafe du Monde" Perlow

          Beignets are deep fried squares of yeast risen dough sometimes jelly filled, sometimes not, similar to a jelly doughnut. The variation discussed here is unusual in using a puff pastry dough.

          1. re: Jason "Cafe du Monde" Perlow

            You're right, Jason. The variation I'm trying to duplicate was a dessert that I had at the Brasserie recently. Check the Manhattan board from last week and, somewhere in there, you'll find the original discussion. - - Dena