Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Beignets

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 13 large or 18 small beignets
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Ingredients

Beignet Dough:

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (70 to 80 degrees F)

1/4 cup buttermilk blend powder, such as Saco

1/4 cup granulated sugar 

1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) 

4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter 

1/2 teaspoon almond extract 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 egg, slightly beaten 

Nonstick spray 

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing:

1 pound baby spinach, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

1 can artichoke hearts or rounds, drained and roughly chopped 

1 pod fresh garlic, minced 

1 cup heavy cream 

4 ounces cream cheese 

4 ounces grated Parmesan

4 ounces Italian breadcrumbs 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Maple Reduction:

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar 

1 teaspoon granulated sugar 

Oil, for deep-frying 

2 cups confectioners' sugar 

Directions

  1. For the dough: Mix together the water, buttermilk blend powder and sugar in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add the yeast and stir until blended. Let sit for 10 minutes; you should be able to see the yeast activate and create an expanding foam in the bowl.
  2. Mix together the bread flour and salt in a separate bowl, then slowly drizzle over the melted butter and blend until the flour is a soft crumbly texture. Stir the almond and vanilla extracts into the beaten egg, pour into the flour mixture and continue mixing. Slowly add the yeasty water until all the liquid is incorporated and the flour has formed into a soft mound. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface and knead 1 to 4 times until smooth. (Don't overwork the dough or it will become tough.) Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spray the top with a light coating of nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  3. For the stuffing: Toss together the spinach, lemon juice, artichokes and garlic. Saute over medium-low heat until the spinach is slightly wilted, and then stir in the cream, cream cheese and Parmesan until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat and gradually add the breadcrumbs until the mixture is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to stuff the beignets; it will thicken as it chills.
  4. For the reduction: Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add the syrup and vinegar and stir
  5. until the sauce is bubbling and slightly reduced, to the consistency of syrup, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. The sauce should be tangy and slightly sweet with a gentle hint of maple. Keep warm.
  6. For assembling and frying: Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Cut the beignet dough ball into 4 equal sections, and roll each section out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into rounds about the circumference of a coffee cup. Moisten the edge of each round with water using your fingertips or a misting sprayer, and then place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of half the rounds. Top with the remaining rounds and gently press down the edges to create a seal.
  7. Deep-fry, flipping frequently, until golden, and then drain for a few seconds on paper towels. Lightly dust the tops with confectioners' sugar. This dusting effect is best when done using a wire strainer filled with confectioners' sugar, held over the warm beignets,
  8. and lightly tapped on the side to release a fine spray of the sugar.
  9. Dust the center of plates very lightly with confectioners' sugar, then drizzle the balsamic-maple reduction in whatever pattern desired over the bottom. Top with the stuffed beignets. 

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