All regions and families in France have a recipe for bugnes, each with its own name: ‘Merveilles’ in Bordeaux, ‘Pets de Nonnes’ in Champagne, ‘Bottereaux’ in Nantes and Brittany and ‘Frappe’ in Corsica. Around Lyon and in Auvergne, the local bugnes herald the annual Carnival – but there’s nothing to stop you making and eating them all year round! Try this recipe by Anne-Sophie Vidal, winner of TV show Le Meilleur Pâtissier. They can be crunchy or fluffy: the question is whether to add yeast or not.
Ingredients for around 40 crunchy or 25 soft bugnes
- 250g (2 cups) multi-purpose flour
- ½ packet baking powder (6g (1 tbsp)) (only add for soft bugnes)
- 2 whole eggs
- 50g (1/4 cup) soft butter
- 75g (1/3 cup) sugar
- 2 pinches salt
- 2 tbsp rum
- Icing sugar for dusting
In a bowl, form a well in the flour (and baking powder if you’re making fluffy bugnes). Add the beaten eggs and mix vigorously, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Knead the dough well by hand, then wrap it in cling film and let it rest for a few hours (if this rest exceeds six hours, put the dough in the fridge and remove it 10 minutes before using). If you’re making fluffy bugnes, use a large airtight box instead of cling film, as the dough will swell a little.
For crunchy bugnes: On a floured board, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough very thinly to 2mm. Don’t hesitate to use plenty of flour as the dough can be very sticky. Cut out rectangles of dough (roughly 4x8cm) with a wheel or pizza cutter. Make two lines in each rectangle.
For fluffy bugnes: On a floured board, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 5-6mm. Don’t hesitate to add flour as the dough can be very sticky. Cut fairly narrow diamonds of dough (roughly 4x12cm diagonally) with a wheel or pizza cutter. Make one line lengthwise in the centre of each diamond.
Heat some frying oil in a deep pan. When it’s hot enough (test by dropping a small piece of dough into it; it should form bubbles and quickly float to the surface), brown the bugnes in batches of five (depending on the size of your pan) for around two minutes, turning them over after one. They should be barely browned for crunchy and golden for fluffy.
Drain them on paper towels. After allowing them to cool for 15 minutes, dust with icing sugar on both sides (essential). Enjoy them lukewarm or cold with tea or coffee.
Both types of bugnes keep for at least a week in an airtight container.