Recipe

Biscuit Beignets from Husk Savannah

A Georgia pastry chef honors her Louisiana roots with a spiced dessert

Beignets in a bowl

Photo: Husk Savannah

You never know what the daily offerings will be at Husk Savannah—but you can bet they’ll be undeniably Southern. Located in the city’s historic district, with two other locations in Nashville and Charleston, the restaurant spotlights seasonal ingredients from local and regional producers on its ever-changing menus. Dishes often feature modern, playful riffs on classics—think pimento cheese omelets, raw oysters with horseradish-peanut relish, and smoked pork loin with pickled cabbage. 

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The desserts also fluctuate frequently thanks to pastry chef Rebecca Elsishans. One new addition to Husk’s spring menu is a delicately spiced and slightly savory biscuit beignet. Inspired by her Louisiana childhood, she wanted to find a way to merge the popular doughnut-like pastry with a new creation. “In Georgia, biscuits are always in demand,” she says. “The biscuit beignets are a combination of those two parts of myself.”

To make them, Elsishans uses biscuit dough made in-house and adds a variety of spices, including cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper. She shared the recipe with G&G so you can re-create the dish at home, along with two dipping sauces: a lightly floral rose crème anglaise and a sweet and tangy orange jelly. 

photo: Husk Savannah

Ingredients

  • Biscuit Beignets (Yield: Approximately 24 beignets)

  • For the biscuit dough

    • 1 cup self-rising flour (Elsishans uses White Lily)

    • 1 tbsp. sugar

    • 2 tsp. salt

    • ½ tsp. cardamom

    • ¼ tsp. ginger

    • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

    • ¼ tsp. turmeric

    • ¼ tsp. black pepper

    • 1¼ cup butter, cold

    • 1 cup buttermilk

    • 2 tbsp. heavy cream

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting

    • 1 quart canola oil, for frying

    • 1 cup granulated or powdered sugar, for coating

  • For the rose crème anglaise (yields 1½ cups)

    • 1 cup heavy cream

    • 1 cup milk

    • 6 egg yolks

    • ⅓ cup sugar

    • 1½ tsp. rose water

    • ½ tsp. vanilla

  • For the orange jelly (yields 1 cup)

    • ½ cup orange juice

    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

    • ½ cup sugar

    • 1 tsp. butter

    • 1 tsp. pectin

    • 2 tbsp. sugar


Preparation

  1. Make the biscuit beignets: Stir all dry ingredients together. Chop cold butter into ½-inch cubes and cut butter into dry ingredients until only pea-sized pieces remain. This can be done by hand by rubbing the pieces of butter between your thumb and forefinger or with a stand mixer using the paddle attachment on the lowest speed.

  2. Once the butter is done mixing, turn off the mixer and add the buttermilk and heavy cream. If mixing by hand, use either a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the dough until the wet ingredients are just incorporated. Some dry flour will remain at the bottom of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix on the lowest speed until the wet ingredients are just incorporated; some dry ingredients will remain at the bottom of the bowl. Be careful not to overmix.

  3. On a well-floured surface, scrape all the dough out of the bowl. Try to get all the unincorporated dry ingredients on top of the dough. Use a bench scraper to fold the dough over itself a few times so the dry ingredients are inside the dough ball.

  4. Flour the surface and the top of the dough liberally. You can use any all-purpose flour for this. Roll it out until the dough is ½-inch thick. Fold the dough in thirds by folding the right third of the dough over the center of the dough and then folding the left third on top of the already folded portion of the dough. Turn the dough 90 degrees, and fold in thirds again.

  5. Repeat this step two more times, flouring the dough, rolling it to ½-inch thick, and folding in thirds twice. You may need to pick up the dough and scrape and re-flour your work surface between steps. Once you have rolled and folded the dough three times, roll out to ½-inch thick for the final time. Cut out the dough using a 2-inch ring cutter. Transfer the cutouts to a sheet tray and refrigerate until ready to fry.

  6. When you are ready to cook the beignets, heat the canola oil in a large pot to 350°F. Fry the beignets in several batches until they are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to dry. I prefer to roll beignets in granulated sugar, but for a more traditional take you can dust them in powdered sugar.

  7. Note: Biscuit dough works best when all the ingredients are cold. If you have time, you can measure out the flour, sugar, salt, and spices and place them in the freezer for a few hours before making the dough. Always use cold butter.

  8. Make the rose crème anglaise: In a medium-sized pot, on low heat, heat the milk and heavy cream until it begins to boil around the edges. Remove from heat. 

  9. In a bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until mixture becomes a pale yellow. Slowly pour the hot dairy into the yolks while continuously whisking the yolks. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot.

  10. On low heat, stirring constantly, heat the custard to 180°F. Do not boil; this will cause the custard to break. Remove from heat and continue to stir for another minute. Add the rose water and vanilla and stir to incorporate. 

  11. Serve warm as a dipping sauce for the beignets.

  12. Make the orange jelly: In a medium-sized pot, bring the orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, and butter to a hard boil.

  13. Whisk together the pectin and sugar. While whisking the juice, pour the sugar and pectin into the juice. Let the mixture come to a hard boil. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.

  14. Remove jelly from heat. Skim the foam off the top. Cool completely before serving. The jelly can be stored in the refrigerator. Serve as a cold dipping sauce for the beignets.


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