about 5 dozen doughnuts
Romantic visions of cobble stoned old New Orleans and the Vieux Carre, or French Market, come to mind when tasting hot crisp puffs of dough known as Beignets. Horse-drawn carriages still pull up to the Café du Monde in order that the passengers may taste the famous doughnuts and enjoy a steaming cup of coffee fortified with chicory.
In a deep large bowl, combine boiling, water, sugar, shortening, and salt, stirring until shortening is melted. Blend in milk or half-and-half and egg; cool to lukewarm.
Soften yeast in warm water. Add softened yeast and 2 cups flour to egg mixture, beating hard. Add remaining 1¼ cups flour or as needed to make a medium soft dough. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn dough to grease top, and cover. Refrigerate until ready to use. One-third or one-half of the dough may be refrigerated overnight, to be fried the next day, if desired.
Roll about half of the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured board. With a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel, cut dough into 2½ to 3-inch squares.
Fry dough at once….DO NOT LET DOUGH RISE.…in deep hot fat (360 to 370 degrees F.) about 2 minutes total cooking time, turning beignets once. Drain beignets on absorbent paper.
Dust beignets generously with confectioners' sugar while hot and serve at once.