Les Bugnes are delicate and small twisted ribbon style beignets and are made from a dough very much like a doughnut and coated in a sugar icing. They are also known as Angels Wings and many other names throughout Europe. Have a look at the Wikipedia list of alternate names.
They are sold at Mardi Gras, just before lent due to their high fat content. Les Bugnes were originally a speciality of the Duchy of Savoy but quickly became a speciality throughout the region, especially in Lyon where they can be found in the cold meat shops there, as well now as the bakeries. Les Bugnes were also traditionally made at home as a way of using up surplus fat before lent.
Les Bugnes are commonly sold during Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) Ash Wednesday, the day before lent at carnivals around this time and on Fat Thursday the last Thursday before lent. There seem to be two types of bugnes in our region of France they are soft light doughnut style small twists and in Lyon the ‘Bugnes Lyonnaise’ is a crunchy flatter style which has been fried in hot oil. Our local boulangerie has been making them daily for about a month now. Seems like a good excuse to me to dunk a gorgeous light fluffy sweet doughnut into my morning coffee!
Here is a recipe for bugnes I found on a Lyonnaise bloggers site – Lyonvadrouille Gourmand It was in French so I have translated it here. There are many variations but all are basically a doughnut dough and are flavoured with either lemon zest, orange flower water or rum!
- 500g flour
- 12g yeast
- 5 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
- 50g sugar
- 150g butter
- Flavouring of your choice – lemon zest , orange blossom or rum
- Sunflower oil for frying
Dissolve the yeast in very little water Sift the flour into a bowl, make a hole in the centre and break the eggs into it and add the salt, sugar and flavouring and mix together. Then add the melted butter and yeast and mix in. Knead well and let the dough rest for one to two hours. Stretch the dough until around 2 to 3 mm thick and cut into strips of about 2.5 cm wide by 8 – 10cm long. If you have a pastry cutter you can put a pattern on the edges. Then tie them into knots. You can make any fun shape you want. Cook the bugnes in boiling oil just for a couple of minutes until the become fluffy and browned Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
The bugnes that I photographed for this post I bought at our local bakery. La Boulangerie du Centre, Viry.
All photos ©Copyright Caro Blackwell