Quince Beignet with Orange Flower Crème Anglaise


Most cultures have some forms of beignet, i’m thinking of American donuts, Japanese tempura, Spanish churros, Italian Zeppole, German spritzkuchen, Greek loukoumades and many more. I grew up in France where fried dough come in many forms with a myriad of different names like bugnesmerveillesoreillettes, pets de nonne (um.. literally nun’s farts), but don’t let this confuse you, we’re French, we’re a tiny bit rude and we like to disagree about everything with a passion.

Beignet is an umbrella term for a large variety of pastries made from deep-fried dough with fruit or vegetable filling. What you dip in the batter  is up to you. It’s a bit confusing but who cares? As long as the whole world agrees that fried dough is freakin’ fantastic, there’s hope for humanity.


Quinces make great beignet but unlike apples, pears or bananas (all of which can be used here instead of quince) they need to be poached first in a citrus-infused sugar syrup to soften them up and bring out their flavor. While this is happening you can keep busy and make the beignet batter with (preferably) some Belgian golden ale and an egg for extra puff and richness.


It’s your choice whether to serve the beignets hot enough to burn your tongue and a few fingers or to stack them up and enjoy them at room temperature. But hot or cold, they should be dusted with confectioners’ sugar. You can stop there or you can make a crème anglaise flavored with orange-flower water to use as a dipping sauce. I’m a bit over-zealous sometimes so i also made a Buddha’s hand lemon dipping sugar to go with it. Can’t go wrong either way.

  • Quinces Beignets with Orange Flower Crème Anglaise

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • Recipe inspired/adapted from Francois Payard
  • quince-beignet-4
    • For the Poached Quinces:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • zest strips from 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
    • 1 vanilla bean, split
    • 4 medium quinces, peeled and cored
    • For the Quince Beignets:
    • 1 cup flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 cup beer, preferably Golden Ale
    • 4 cups canola oil, for frying
    • confectioners sugar
    • For the Orange-Flower Crème Anglaise:
    • 2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 2 strips of orange zest
    • 2 tablespoons orange flower water
    • For the Poached Quince:
    • In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups water, 1 cup sugar, the orange and lemon zest and the vanilla bean. Bring to a boil. Cut each quince into 4 slices.
    • Add the quince slices to the boiling syrup and reduce the heat. Poach until they are easily pierced with a knife, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and drain on a rack
    • For the Quince Beignets:
    • In a medium bowl, combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, a pinch of salt and egg. Whisk together and gradually add the beer. Whisk until the batter is smooth.
    • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Toss a drop of batter into the oil to check temperature (if it pops up quickly to the surface, it’s ready). Dip a few slices of poached quince into the batter and carefully drop them into the oil. Fry until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes
    • Drain beignets on paper towels and dust with confectioners sugar.
    • For the Orange Flower Crème Anglaise:
    • In a large saucepan, combine the half-and-half and orange zest and cook over medium heat just until small bubbles appear around the rim, about 5 minutes.
    • In another medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks just until combined. Whisk in half of the hot half-and-half. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Refrigerate until chilled. Whisk in the orange flower water.
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  • http://www.stirthepots.com Jeremy

    Nothing better then fried, it’s a good thing!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    Just fabulous, StephAhhhhhne!

    I like how you stretched-out another use for this under-appreciated fruit. The Greek in me would add some cinnamon too!

  • http://blog.lemonpi.net Y

    And who doesn’t like fried dough, I ask ya! Those look fantastic!

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    “fried dough is freakin’ fantastic” truer words have never been spoken! This looks beyond fantastic. It’s like fruit tempura.

  • http://cakeonthebrain.blogspot.om cakebrain

    where were you when I needed your yummy-looking creme anglaise when I baked that awfully dry HUGE chocolate bundt cake? bah! I could have used a gallon of the creme anglaise to make my bundt go down more smoothly ;P

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Ahhhh l’aut’ avec son appareil photo penché au dessus de sa marmite pleine d’huile bouillonnante!! [faint] T’es pas fou non? 1) On jette les beignets dans l’huile de loin (et non “carefully drop them”, n’importe quoi) 2) on court se cacher derrière le canapé en attendant que ce soit cuit 3) On appelle Zenchef pour qu’il vienne les piocher hors de la marmite.
    Voilà la recette correcte, heureusement que je suis là, non mais.

  • http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com dawn

    creme anglaise! beignet! oh heavens you evil french man. last time I had these was in new orleans and they were nothing like this. you kicked this recipe up to the best notches ever. beyond incredible my friend….

  • http://mllenoelle.wordpress,com noëlle {simmer down!}

    Now that I am over my fear of deep frying thanks to last month’s Daring Bakers challenge (cannoli), I think I just may be ready to tackle something like this. Actually, I did do fruit tempura a long time ago and it was really good!

  • http://www.veggie-wedgie.com Veggie Wedgie

    They look like donuts!

  • http://devourtheworld.blogspot.com jen

    I can’t visit here anymore. It just makes me sad that you NEVER SEND ANY TO CALI!

  • http://www.my-easy-cooking.com nina

    Gosh, that looks divine…. “orange flavored creme anglaise….mmmmmm there is something poetic about that!!!

  • http://showfoodchef.com cathy/ShowFoodChef

    Found you through Tartlette’s Twitter, now bookmarked. Made the recipe and was delicious!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    i’ll take my beignet mouth-scorching hot, please. ok, not really. but these are right up my alley – where the hell does one find orange flower water? how do you know about these things? ok, ok, you’re a chef but, seriously… where do you buy something like that?

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    My god!! Feel like biting a piece of the beignets off from my screen LOL!!


  • http://www.clumbsycookie.blogspot.com clumbsycookie

    How did you know that I just got orange flower water when I was in Spain?! (Can’t find it here…) You’re soooooo right! Fried dough must be the best thing ever, I can even eat it plain! We also have our share of fried dough stuff here in lovely Portugal: sonhos and filhoses are my favourites!

  • zenchef

    Thank you all or your comments!

    We are never full — I grew up with orange flower water. We used to flavor crepe batter with it when i was a kid. Fancy gourmet store sell it, i even saw it at Food Emporium the other day. Baking section. Little blue bottles. Otherwise you can always order it online.

  • http://wanderingfoodie.com Hagan

    Hey, did you want to join me on my NYC project? My e-mail must have hit your spam filter. http://ow.ly/KfD4

  • http://hecooksshecookswecook.com/ Jeff

    I just had bad flashbacks to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

    Ok the flashbacks were good but the hangovers were death.

    Plus anything that involves a deep fryer is win win in my book.

  • http://Simplerecipes.me Juliana

    Orange Flower Crème Anglaise with beignets? Looks fantastic…would love to try it :-)

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com pigpigscorner

    I agree, fried dough is awesome and in fact, fried anything is good!

  • http://foodhuntress.blogspot.com enrisa marie

    …They dined on mince and slices of QUINCE, Which they ate with a runcible spoon. And hand in hand on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon.The moon, the moon. They danced by the light of the moon… (- The Owl and the Pussycat)

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  • http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com Emily

    My goodness! How good do these look?? Excellent work.

  • http://dhanggitskitchen.blogspot.com dhanggit

    What a beautiful masterpiece you made here Zen :-) love the idea of beignet with crème anglaise!

    ps, :-( i lost your link when i changed my blog layout i’m glad to be back!!

  • http://zested.wordpress.com liz {zested}

    people over at google are going, why are we seeing a sudden spike in searches for “nun’s farts”? love it.

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