pastries Units: US | Metric
1/2 cup warm water
5 teaspoons dry yeast
1 pinch sugar
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup oil
4 1/4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
oil (for frying)
granulated sugar (for dusting)
1 In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar.
2 Allow to stand a couple of minutes to allow yeast to swell or dissolve.
3 Stir in remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil, salt, and most of flour to make soft dough
4 Knead 5-8 minutes (by hand or with a dough hook), adding flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough.
5 Place in a greased bowl. Place bowl in a plastic bag and seal. (If not using right away, you can refrigerate the dough at this point).
6 Let rise in a covered, lightly greased bowl; about 30-40 minutes.
7Gently deflate dough. (If dough is coming out of the fridge, allow to warm up for about 40 minutes before proceeding).
8 Pinch off a golfball-sized piece of dough. Roll out into an oval and let rest, covered with a tea towel, while you are preparing the remaining dough.
9 Heat about 4 inches of oil in fryer (a wok works best, but you can use a Dutch oven or whatever you usually use for frying). Temperature of the oil should be about 385°F.
10 Add the dough pieces to the hot oil, about 1-2 at a time.
11 BUT -- before you do, stretch the ovals into a tail shape, like a beaver's tail - thinning them out and enlarging them as you do.
12 Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown.
13 Lift the tails out with tongs and drain on paper towels.
14 Fill a large bowl with a few cups of white sugar.
15 Toss the tails in sugar (with a little cinnamon if you wish) and shake off excess.
16 Divine with a bit of jam or apple pie filling!
Let dough sit covered until it rises and doubles (approximately 35-45 minutes). Lightly deflate the dough and pinch off a piece the size of a golf ball. On a floured surface use a rolling pin to roll out the small ball of dough into an oval shape. Put it aside and cover it with a tea towel while you continue to do the same with the remaining dough.
Heat approximately 4 inches of oil in either a deep-fryer (375 degrees) or a wok or a Dutch oven. Before placing the flattened dough into the oil, stretch them into ovals and thin them and enlarge them (to resemble the tail). Place the tails in the oil one (or two) at a time. Fry in the oil, turn them once until the tails are a deep brown. This process usually takes about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Carefully remove the tail from the oil and let it drain on a paper towel. Place left over sugar in a large bowl and add the cinnamon. Toss the beaver tail into the bowl while it is still hot. Shake off any extra sugar and cinnamon mixture.