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Puffy Pillow Beignets

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Mandy from Lady and Pups teaches us that tapioca flour makes for the perfect beignet.

Puffy Pillow Beignets from Food52

Growing up in Taiwan and Vancouver, I never really understood everyone's fascination with donuts. Then I moved to New York, and everything changed. I was ambushed with a newly found addiction to this godly creature they call Krispy Kreme, which at the time I believed to be the truest form of fried dough.

But that was before I visited New Orleans, and sank my teeth into the first French beignet of my previously wasted life. Another window opened. I learned that an entirely different type of perfect donut can exist, even if it is worlds apart from the one I used to believe in. I was completely content. The idea to search for a third perfect donut seemed like utter greed.  

Puffy Pillow Beignets from Food52

But the third perfect donut found me. A few years ago I took a trip to Taiwan, which at the time was being invaded by a ferocious Japanese franchise called Mr. Donuts. I didn't even bother to try my first one until a few more trips later -- and my mind was blown. The genius addition of tapioca flour created a chewy, soft, heavenly texture; it was donut nirvana.  

If you ever come across a Mr. Donuts, grab what you can and prepare to loosen your belt. But if not, a satisfying adaptation can be made at home: hot, crispy, and chewy, right on your countertop. This is, of course, only recommended to people with great self control.

Puffy Pillow Beignets

Makes 20

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 to 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting

In one large bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, dry yeast, salt, and baking powder. Add whole milk and stir the dough together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then add the sweetened condensed milk and unsalted butter, and stir again until the dough is smooth and very sticky. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it proof at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

Generously dust the working surface with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Pat the dough down and use a dough scraper to fold the dough onto itself, like you're folding a letter. Turn it 90 degrees and fold again. Keep in mind that this dough is very sticky and you will need to continuously dust it with more flour to work with it.

Then roll the dough out into a thin sheet about 1/8 inch thick. You can now cut the sheet into square shapes (which is easier and faster), or use a pastry cutter to cut out little rounds (gather the remaining dough, roll it out, and cut again until the dough is used up).

Place the pieces on a flour-dusted baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Let it rise at room temperature for another hour until poofy.

Heat up 2 cups of vegetable oil in a deep and narrow pot on medium-high heat. The smaller and deeper the pot is, the less oil you’ll need for frying. Once you stick a wooden chopstick into the oil and it starts bubbling on the edges, the oil is ready for frying. Start frying 2 to 3 pieces at a time. Once the dough gets heated, it will start to puff up. Flip it immediately before the first side gets browned -- otherwise, it will always revert back to the same side because of the air on the inside. Keep flipping it a few times until both sides get golden brown.

Puffy Pillow Beignets from Food52

Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack to drain. Repeat with the rest of the pieces.

Puffy Pillow Beignets from Food52

Dust generously with powdered sugar and serve while they're still warm.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Mandy Lee

Tags: small batch, beignets, donuts, japanese, fritters, how-to & diy

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Comments (17)


about 2 years ago Peter Middleton

I find basting helps achieve the "pop"


about 2 years ago Mandy @ Lady and pups

Peter, great tip!


about 2 years ago Stephanie

Tapioca is also "yucca," "manioc," "cassava," and flour and starch are the same thing for it (unlike for wheat, potato, etc.). It is probably readily available in Mexico by another name.
I must make these--wow. Any thoughts on the best wheat-free flour to replace the AP flour?


about 2 years ago spicytofu



about 2 years ago Godown

ok so you've never heard of tapioca powder go buy tapioca pudding and put it in your blender ( Vitamix) or you can buy Tapioca pearls on Amazon or as another reader suggests Cafe DE Monde make it easy



about 2 years ago Lyndell

If you mean tapioca pudding MIX, I don't think that would work - there are other ingredients in the mix. You could buy Minute Tapioca or Pearl & use the VitaMix to turn that into the "flour" - but it's easy enough to get the right thing, so why not?


about 2 years ago Lyndell

The tip about flipping them regularly was worth everything...I'll be able to use that with almost anything I deep fry. Ordering tapioca flour right away!


about 2 years ago Marlene Wiltshire

I have been cooking these for years. I live in Aleandria, VA and we call them hot puggs. Have them every Sunday morning before or after Church.


about 2 years ago Laura Bustillo

I can relate to your New Orleans experience. I fell in love with beignets as well. Thank you for sharing this recipe and the careful step by step visuals. ;)


about 2 years ago AlexOlalde

Sorry, my phone writes for me... hahaha. I try to say that "I live in Mexico and never seen this tapioca flour"


about 2 years ago Mandy @ Lady and pups

Alex, tapioca flour can be easily found online. The biggest brand that makes it is Bob's Red Mill (http://www.bobsredmill...), which can be purchased on Amazon.


about 2 years ago AlexOlalde

Thanks Mandy!


about 2 years ago AlexOlalde

I didn't know there was tapioca flour, I live in Mexico anda bever seen it. Is there a substitution for this flour? Or can I blend the tapioca in order to get the flour?


about 2 years ago Barbara Schmidl

if you don't feel like making them from scratch, you can always order them from the Café Du Monde in New Orleans.


about 2 years ago Richard Reiser

These are very different from Cafe du Monde.


about 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Great to see Mandy and her amazing photography featured here! Love the sound of these - the chewy texture the tapioca brings. Thank you for sharing this. In in Nigeria we have beignets, but we call them puff-puff!


about 2 years ago Narrowboatbaker

These look amazing