Monday, October 10, 2011

Carla Hall's Pumpkin Beignet with Caramel Dipping Sauce 10.10.11

OK... Right off the bat, I cheated.

During the show, Carla specifically says to NOT use canned pumpkin.  BUT, this was just after she had said that once you have the batter, you can add anything to it.  Well, I have a cooking pumpkin, but I have a soup planned for it.  But I did have a can of pumpkin (not a can of Pumpkin Pie mix, that is pumpkin with spices added).  Well, I chose to ignore Carla and listen to Carla.  I used canned pumpkin since she said I could add anything.

Since I added the pumpkin from the can, there was no way to extract the water.  When I made the batter as directed, I was liquid heavy.  So, I just added some flour until I thought I had the right consistency.

And next, I moved to her recipe for Caramel sauce.


This was not covered in the episode.  It was just glossed over.  I did see her take the hot pan and have the tasters dip the beignets into a sauce, which I assume is this.

Well, I followed the directions and while hot in the pan, it was indeed PERFECT.  Dipped great, or worked well as a drizzle.  BUT, when it cooled, it was a ROCK.  I mean a solid as a well... rock, ROCK.  It is implied it could be saved and used as a hostess gift.  Well, not mine.  I have no idea what I did wrong, and in fact, it would not really be called a failure since if I used the sauce as Carla had on the show, serving right from the pan, hot, it was perfect.  But once it cooled, I was done with the left overs.

There was a bit of a funny moment on the show that should I ever be invited to produce, I would fix...  Daphne Oz mentioned that she had never been to New Orleans... I smell a road trip!

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities.  In fact, as a foodie it is by far my favorite city.  So much history, so many amazing restaurants at great prices (easily half what NYC restaurants charge).  It is also one of the few cities in America that has it's own unique cuisine.

Which brings us back to these beignets...

Made famous by Cafe du Monde in the heart of the French Quarter, these French doughnuts are a "must Have" for anyone visiting the city.  I have made these in the past, but have never made a flavored one... Like this.

Oh my were these terrific.  The pumpkin and apple shine through the dough and they are simply delicious.  Personally, when i make these again, I will skip the caramel.  They had a wonderful flavor on their own.  The powdered sugar made these plenty sweet and just no need for the dipping sauce.

So, with the two changes I made (extra flour because I used the more wet pumpkin from the can), I followed the recipe as posted on The Chew website... Click HERE.

The beignets came out WONDERFUL.  Just enough pumpkin color and taste, just enough apple to make these a delight.  Certainly a more adult taste; but with the powdered sugar added, it becomes a family taste treat.

BTW, this recipe was part of a "cook off" between this and a bacon/bourbon banana split made by Michael Symon.  There was a panel of audience tasters that chose the beignets over the more convoluted recipe that Michael provided.  His recipe was fine, and who doesn't love bacon, but sure seemed too much effort for a dessert.

My vote is for this new twist on a New Orleans classic!

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