Apple and cinnamon beignets with blackberry sauce

/ Category: Recipes / Author:

Apple and cinnamon beignets with blackberry sauce

These are incredibly more-ish, and a wonderful way to showcase blackberries when they are abundant.

Ingredients

Makes about 20

For the choux pastry
220ml water
85g butter
105g plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, at room temperature

For the beignets
750g Bramleys, or other cooking apples
About 60g caster sugar
Oil, for deep-frying

For the blackberry sauce
250g blackberries
About 70g caster sugar
1 tbsp water

To serve
2 tsp ground cinnamon
10g caster sugar

Instructions

  1. First make the choux pastry. Measure the water into a small saucepan. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and add to the water. Place over a low heat and allow the butter to melt, without letting the water simmer or boil (which would result in less liquid, through evaporation, and a stiff mixture that won’t rise as well).
  2. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt 2 or 3 times to aerate it and remove any lumps. Do the final sifting onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Fold the paper in half and fold up the bottom edge a couple of times to create a pocket for the flour to sit in. (This will make it easier to add it all at once to the water and butter.)
  3. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium high and have the pocket of flour and a wooden spoon close by. As the water begins to simmer, watch it carefully and, as it boils and rises up the sides of the pan, with the melted butter collecting in the middle, shoot the flour in all at once and turn off the heat.
  4. Beat the flour in vigorously for just 20–30 seconds, getting the spoon into the corners of the saucepan, until the flour is fully incorporated, there are no lumps and the mixture is thick and a uniform colour. Spread this panade onto a plate and let it cool until tepid (about 38ºC). Cooling the panade will allow the incorporation of more egg, to ensure a greater rise.
  5. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Once the panade is cool to the touch, return it to the saucepan (there’s no need to wash it), add about 1 tbsp of the beaten egg and beat it into the panade with a wooden spoon (off the heat). Once the egg is fully incorporated, add a little more egg and beat again, adding about three quarters of the remaining egg in additions and beating well to incorporate each addition fully before the next. Initially, the panade will thicken, but as more egg is beaten in it will start to loosen and become smooth and shiny.
  6. Once about three quarters of the egg has been added, check the consistency; you need a silky smooth pastry with a reluctant dropping consistency, which means that when you fill the wooden spoon with pastry and lift it up over the saucepan the pastry should fall back from the spoon into the saucepan to the slow count of six. Continue adding egg a little at a time until the correct consistency is achieved. The pastry is now ready to use for making the beignets.
  7. Peel and core the apples and cut into even 5mm dice. Put into a saucepan with the 60g sugar, cover with a damp cartouche* and cook over a gentle heat until softening, but still retaining a little texture. Keep an eye on them as they cook, adding a little water if they dry out. Remove from the heat and taste while still warm, adding a little extra sugar if the mixture is too tart. Set aside in the pan.
  8. For the blackberry sauce, put the blackberries in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook over a very gentle heat until they release their juices to create a sauce, but are not breaking down completely. Taste and add more sugar if necessary to balance the flavour, then set aside in the pan.
  9. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan half filled with oil to 195°C, or until a small piece of bread dropped into the oil browns in 25 seconds.
  10. Using lightly oiled teaspoons, drop spoonfuls of choux into the hot oil, in batches of no more than 6. Cook for 3–4 minutes until well expanded and evenly golden. They should increase to around 3 times their original size; tapping them gently with a large metal spoon encourages their expansion.
  11. Remove the cooked beignets to kitchen paper to drain, allowing them to cool slightly while you cook the remaining mixture in batches.
  12. Meanwhile, reheat the apple gently, and carefully pour into a disposable piping bag without a nozzle (or a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of about 5mm so the pieces of apple will just squeeze through), supporting the piping bag in a measuring jug to prevent the hot apple coming out of the open end.
  13. Mix the ground cinnamon with the 10g sugar in a bowl.
  14. Use a skewer to make a hole about 5mm wide in the underside of each beignet. Using a pair of scissors, cut an opening at the nozzle end of the piping bag of no larger than 5mm. With the apple mixture still warm, carefully pipe it into the beignets through the holes, making sure they are generously filled.
  15. Toss each filled beignet through the cinnamon sugar until evenly coated. Serve at once, while still warm, with the blackberry sauce and some vanilla ice cream.

* Cartouche = A circle of greaseproof paper used dry during blind baking, or wet pressed onto sweating onions or other vegetables under a lid, to allow the food to soften without browning.

Author: Lizzy Jones

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