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These little delicacies are traditionally served at Mardi Gras and they have been popular since the Middle ages when they were sold by vendors in the same way that waffles or churros are sold at street fairs today. Bugnes form part of that large family of beignets or “donuts” whose name and shape vary depending on the region and families. They originate from Lyon. Bugnes are often cut with a scalloped pastry wheel into a diamond shape and have a little hole in the centre or twisted into the figure eight and are served dusted with icing or powdered sugar. They are incredibly light and pillowy and you could easily eat a large quantity without realising it.

This recipe is Paul Bocuse’s favourite recipe for these little treats.

Makes about 100

Ingredients:

4 cups flour
Pinch sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
4 eggs
225 g / 1/2 lb sweet butter, softened
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 tablespoon rum
About 6 cups peanut or canola oil for frying
Powdered sugar for garnish

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar
Add the baking powder and salt and stir
Add the eggs, one at a time
Add the soft butter, lemon zest, rum and work them into the other ingredients with your fingers until a smooth dough forms
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until quite thin
Using a scalloped pastry wheel, cut the pastry into 10 cm / 4″ triangles or 4″ by 2″ (10 cm by 5 cm) rectangles with a slit down the middle through which the corners of the pastry can be pulled to form little bows
Once the oil is hot (375 F / 185 C) add the pieces of dough a few at a time
As soon as the Bugnes rise to the surface and are lightly brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain
Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm
Bon Appétit!

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