Meyer Lemon-Elderflower-Meringue Beignets

I love a good beignet. Fluffy doughnuts are honestly my favorite thing ever for munching on, especially when they’re stuffed with something. In this case, I had a ton of Meyer lemons sitting in my fridge, and I wanted to use them up. Immediately, my mind went to lemon curd. And with lemon curd, you have leftover egg whites, so that’s where the idea to do a meringue came from. That coupled with my doughnut cravings meant that I figured out a fun dessert to make. What makes this dough slightly different than ones in the past is that I went more for a brioche-type of dough, just because I wanted something slightly richer in texture. I stuffed it with Meyer lemon curd, and topped it with an elderflower Italian meringue, that I then finished roasting in the broiler until it got nice and caramelized.

Truthfully, this recipe took me two tries to perfect. The first night I made the dough, I added too much liquid by mistake, which put me at a weird crossroads: add more flour and have a denser, almost pretzel-like doughnut, or leave it as is, and have a very sticky dough that might not fry properly. I opted for the latter, hoping for the best, only for my dough to stick to the cutting board, then to my fingers, and when it finally managed to get flung into the frying oil, it got horribly malformed, puffed up as a result of that trapped moisture in the dough, causing it to expand, and in the end, the batch looked almost like a family of amorphous blobs. The second time around, I had better luck and the dough came out just fine, because I was hyper-cautious not to add too much liquid again after that first mistake. With the Italian meringue, I opted for that because of how strong and stable the meringue is, meaning that it won’t just slide off of the doughnut when you pipe it on and stick it into the broiler to toast the it, like a French meringue would. I went with elderflower just because it was light, fragrant, and with the lemon, an homage to the British royal wedding.

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Makes 24 beignets (if you’re not ready to eat or make this many beignets, I highly recommend halving this recipe, which is what I did when I tested it both times!):
For the dough:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling
1 packet active-dry yeast
1/3 cup heavy cream, kept cold
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
canola oil to fry with

Melt down the butter. Once fully melted, take off heat and whisk into the heavy cream and eggs to drastically bring down the temperature of the butter. Incorporate the liquid into flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and knead into a dough. Place into a lightly oiled and covered bowl and allow to proof for at least 1 hour. Roll out on a floured surface and cut out 2 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch by 1/8th inch squares. Allow those to proof for another 30 minutes. Heat up canola oil to about 330 degrees F. Fry the doughnuts for about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

For the lemon curd:
6 meyer lemons
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Zest and juice the meyer lemons. Reduce the zest and juice and whisk the egg yolks with salt, sugar, and cornstarch. Temper together and whisk on medium-high heat until the eggs thicken. Transfer to a blender and puree, adding in the butter. Pass through a sieve and refrigerate until completely cooled down. Transfer to a piping bag. Using a piping tip, poke a hole into the upper-side of the doughnut and pipe the meringue in at a 45 degree angle. You don’t have to worry about the hole, since the meringue will be used to cover that anyways.

For the Italian meringue:
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar, in two parts
2 tablespoons elderflower liquor
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip egg whites with half of the sugar, cream of tartar, and salt to semi-stiff peaks. Heat up the elderflower and sugar together and bring to a simmer. Once the mixture is reduced by about half, pour into your egg whites and continue whipping until they have reached stiff peaks. Finish with the vanilla. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the meringue on top of your beignets. Transfer to a silpat lined sheet tray (DO NOT, under any circumstances, use parchment, or else you will set fire to your oven). Set your oven to broil and leave the beignets in there on the top rack for about 30-45 seconds, being extremely careful to monitor them the whole time as you do so. Only broil about 6 at a time, as overcrowding your tray can lead to uneven browning across the batch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Virginia L. says:

    These are delicious inside and out! You have done it again!

    Liked by 1 person

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