In a small town in Burgundy there is a house located not too far from the Loire Canals, near a large field where children like to play soccer or fly their kite. On the top floor of that house in the kitchen is a woman elegantly dressed with pearl earrings, her hair neatly tucked away into a chic chignon (bun). She is calling her family to come sit down at the table as she fries the last of the eggplant beignets. Everyone rushes in. The sound of oil popping and the smell of the beer batter frying brings them to a happy place, where comfort and family come together as one.
That woman is my great-grandmother. Beignets were her specialty and to this day she is remembered for them. The original beignet recipe is still lying around somewhere in the house, perhaps in the attic. There have been arguments over which recipe was correct. Maybe one day we will find it. Maybe we never will.
But at least we have the eggplant beignet recipe and I am so grateful to still have that piece of her.
Sprinling sugar on top may sound odd to you, but I promise that it’ll bring out the rest of the flavors so much more.
Eggplant Beignets in Beer Batter
1 medium eggplant
1 cup (125g) of all purpose flour
⅓ cup of water
1 tbsp. of oil
5 tbsp. of beer
Sugar to sprinkle
Peel the skin off the eggplant and cut the eggplant into ½ inch slices. Cut those slices in two or three, depending on the size you want for your beignets.
Prepare the beer batter: add flour into a bowl and make a well in the center.
Add the water, egg, beer, oil and salt.
Mix well, the batter should be thick enough that it will hold onto the eggplant.
Lather the eggplant slices with batter and lay them in a pot with hot oil.
Cook on both sides until light brown, don’t let them get too dark.
Lay them out on paper towels.
Sprinkle sugar on top.