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French in a Flash: Apple and Pear Beignets with Vanilla Bean Sugar

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

For some, the holidays are about faith. For me, suffice it to say they're about food. We all know the story of Hanukkah: a drop of oil burned for eight miraculous nights. Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, how I adore you! I love grease—always have, and always will. So, if there's a holiday that celebrates the deep fried, you can count me among the pious.

Every year for Hanukkah, I make two things: Maneschewitz granita and beignets. Last year I did a Proven├žal lavender and apricot edition, but this year, I wanted something more wintry, more Nutcracker. And though I didn't use sugarplums, there's something about the late autumnal fruitiness of apples and pears with the black dappling fresh vanilla seeds that goes so perfectly with Arabian coffee.

Just make a simple choux pastry, as I've done so often in this column, mix in grated apple and pear for their fruity bouquet, and fry. Toss in vanilla sugar, and serve. Hot, and fresh, they are a little surprise to guests who expect something more dowdy or more traditional. It may be true that it takes eight days to burn of a drop of oil, but I promise, these are worth it.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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