France: Pets de Soeur / Pets de Nonne (Nun's Farts)

The proper name for these little fried pastries or fritters is beignets soufflès. But the slightly rude and goofy nickname seems to have been around for at least the past two centuries, possibly longer -- and no one now knows for sure where it came from. The great cookbook writer Richard Olney points out in Simple French Food that in cookbooks published before the nineteenth century, these are called pets de putain -- referring to the emissions of a very different female profession: one at the other end of the celibacy continuum, so to speak.

There is also a potential joke in this version of the recipe at the expense of the Breton side of the country: see the giant "Breton's fart" variation further down the recipe, which produces something like the giant pancake sometimes known as "Dutch baby".

Click on "Read more" for the recipe.

MMMMM----- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
  
       Title: Pets de Soeurs (Nuns' Farts)
  Categories: Pastry, French
       Yield: 40 fritters
  
       6 T  Butter
       2 ts Sugar
       1 pn Salt
       1 ts Grated lemon rind
       4    Eggs
       1 c  Flour
       1 ts Vanilla
       1 ts Rum, dark
            Oil; for deep-frying
            Sugar, confectioners
  
   Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon rind with 1 cup water in a
   saucepan and bring the mixture slowly to a boil.  When the butter has
   completely melted, remove the pan from the heat.  While the pan is
   heating, break each of the eggs into a separate custard cup or
   similar small dish and have these ready.  When the pan is removed
   from the heat, add all the flour at once, stirring, first carefully,
   then, when the flour is absorbed, vigorously with a wooden spoon.
   
   When you have a compact, thick paste, turn the heat to medium high and
   return the pan to it.  Cook this mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring
   constantly and scraping the sides and bottom, until the batter clings
   together in a solid mass, leaving the bottom and sides of the pan
   clean, and takes on a glossy look.  Turn off the heat and remove the
   pan from the stove.
   
   Beat in the vanilla, and the rum if used, giving the batter a chance
   to cool a little.  When it has, make a well in its center, pour in 1
   egg, and beat this into the mass.  When it is incorporated, beat in
   another egg and proceed until all the eggs are used.  The resulting
   pastry should be flexible and soft, firm enough to hold its shape and
   not at all runny. Set it aside and let it rest for about 45 minutes,
   or for the duration of supper.
   
   When ready to make the fritters, fill a deep skillet or deep-fat fryer
   two-thirds full of oil and heat to 360 deg.F (not too hot, or the
   exteriors will brown before the center is cooked).  If you are using
   a deep-fat fryer, do not use the basket, but a slotted spoon or wire
   mesh skimmer instead.  Drop the batter into the hot oil a teaspoonful
   at a time, dipping the spoon into the oil after each scoop.  Don't
   overcrowd the pan, since they puff up to about four times their
   original size. Nudge them to roll over, so that they color evenly on
   all sides.  When golden brown, drain on paper towels and sprinkle
   with confectioners' sugar. Serve hot. Pet de Breton.  This recipe
   makes 1 large fart.  Make the batter with the same ingredients the
   same way as explained above, including the 45- minute rest.  Preheat
   oven to 375 deg.F.  Pour the batter into a large greased pan (a
   10-inch or so heavy cast-iron frying pan works well for this) and set
   in the oven.  Bake for an hour.  Remove, sprinkle with confectioners'
   sugar, tear apart, and eat as soon as it's cool enough to handle. 
                        
  
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