Ördögpirula – Hungarian beignets coated in cocoa
Ördögpirula translates as the devil’s pills, though it feels like heaven when you eat them. If we would like to find a fitting non-Hungarian term for ördögpirula, the French word beignet (fritter) can describe it quite precisely. These deep-fried Hungarian beignets are made from choux pastry and rolled in sweetened cocoa powder. One of the amazing things about choux pastry is the amount of rise you get without any yeast or chemical leavening. This comes from the amount of moisture in the batter.
Choux pastry is a twice-cooked, multi-purpose substance that lies somewhere between dough and batter. It’s made by cooking flour with water and/or milk and butter, then mixing in eggs off heat to form a spoonable consistency. It’s then cooked a second time, either by baking (like in case of Hungarian cream puffs), frying, or poaching, depending on the recipe the choux pastry is being used for.
As you know, baking is about precision and accuracy, and this is even more true in case of choux pastry. Although I give volume measurements as well in the recipe, I recommend weighing the ingredients with a scale in order to achieve the desired result.
- 150 ml (~2/3 cup) milk
- 50 ml (~3 1/2 tbsp) water
- 1 tbsp rum
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 80 g (~1/3 cup) butter
- 150 g (~1 1/4 cups) flour
- 4 eggs
- oil or lard for deep-frying
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
Place milk, water, rum, salt, granulated sugar and butter in a pot and bring it to a boil. Stir in flour until the mixture forms a ball.
Let the dough cool for about 15-20 minutes (you need the dough cool enough that it doesn’t cook the eggs when they hit it). Using a hand or stand mixer beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Do not add another egg until the one before has been completely incorporated. The batter will look smooth and glossy when ready.
Heat 2 inches of oil/lard in a pan. When the oil has reached the right temperature, use two spoons to create “balls” and carefully add them to the hot oil. Let the dough balls cook over medium low heat for a few minutes, turning them regularly until they puff up and get evenly colored (golden brown). Once the puffs are done, drain them on paper towels, then roll the warm puffs in the mixture of cocoa and powdered sugar.