Potato beignets are a luxury version of humble potato noodles. The dough contains more – much more (!!!) – butter and it is deep-fried instead of boiled and pan-fried. This recipe contains wild garlic leaves because my main motivation to make a large batch of potato beignets was to preserve the wild garlic that I had harvested in the forest.
Potato beignets freeze exceptionally well and can be fried whenever you feel like having them. It’s best to make a large batch with whatever kind of leafy green you have lying around. If you don’t have wild garlic on hand, you can use spinach or a mixture of herbs that is in season.
Tips for preparing potato beignets with wild garlic (or any leafy greens you like!)
The dough for potato beignets is a choux pastry – called “Brandteig” in German. “Brennen” in German means “to burn”: Now, you don’t burn the dough in the literal sense but you have to cook it on the stove before shaping the beignets. The cooking gelatinizes the starch in the flour and makes the dough nonstick and fluffy.
Preparing a choux pastry is not as complicated as it might sound. It’s one of the simplest doughs to prepare and absolutely foolproof. And if you mix this dough with mashed potatoes, then you have a delicious potato beignet dough.
As much as some people might not like to hear it but the potatoes need to be cooked whole. Don’t cut them small! This makes the potatoes watery. They need to be soft and dry on the inside. My preferred way is to steam the potatoes. Steamed potatoes are perfect for mashed potatoes, potato noodles, or potato dumplings.
The dough is quite firm so please use a sturdy piping bag. The wider the opening of your piping bag, the easier it is to extrude the dough. I did a batch of tiny decorative potato beignets for the recipe picture. But I also made many large rings. Making many tiny beignets is much more work than making fewer larger ones. You decide how much effort you want to put into this! Whatever you do, make sure to pinch the ends of the circles together lightly so they won’t separate while frying.
I deep-fry the beignets in a wide pan with the parchment paper still attached. The piece of parchment paper will release while deep frying and I don’t like to remove it beforehand as the beignets are fragile. I fry the beignets to a light golden color but you can also fry them for longer if you prefer them darker.