Thursday, June 28, 2012

Food Network Monthly Cookalong: I can't say it's a Beaver Tail

Here in Ottawa, there aren't many food trucks. Most of the trucks around here are chip wagons. They sell fries, the infamous poutine, pogos, etc. There are a few exceptions to this of course and one of those exceptions are Beaver Tails. I know it doesn't sound appetizing and definitely not vegan but I promise you they are delicious and worth the effort to make your own at home when you feel like something delicious. Most people in Ottawa will have memories of skating along the Canal and grabbing a Beaver Tail along the way. President Obama also made quite a stir when he stopped by their Market location to try one. They are basically a whole wheat fried pastry shaped like a beaver's tail that is topped with butter and then various toppings. It is like a distant cousin of a donut. It is slightly crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. My favourite flavour was always the Killaloe Sunrise which had the Beaver Tail sprinkled generously with sugar and then served with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the top. I actually remember when I was a teenager that I would be craving a Beaver Tail in the middle of the summer (in my day you had to wait for the Canal to open for skating, now they have a year round location) and I would make a piece of toast and add sugar and lemon juice. Ryan's go-to was the more simple Cinnamon Sugar. They have gotten much more adventurous with their toppings now but for our treat we kept it simple and went with these two that we had always enjoyed.

Here's my take on a Beaver Tail, top it as you wish!

I Can't Say It's A Beaver Tail

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted (I used Vegan Becel)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp instant yeast

Oil for frying (I used sunflower)

For Serving

Vegan margarine to spread on cooked pastries
Cinnamon Sugar
Granulated Sugar and Lemon Wedges

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bucket (that's what I used). Add a bit more flour or water if needed. I kneaded the dough just for a minute or two. It will be slightly tacky but not sticky.

2. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and let sit in a warm place for 2 hours. Once risen you can shape and fry immediately or place in the fridge to use later. (I put mine in the fridge overnight and shaped it while cold from the fridge and it still worked perfectly)

3. When you are ready to fry, you will have to find the widest yet still deep pot you have. I couldn't make them as long as they do so you can always just make them smaller and use a smaller pot. Heat the oil until it shimmers (and if you put a small piece of dough in the oil it bubbles around the edges and floats immediately to the top). Quickly cut off a 2" ball of dough and stretch into a long oblong shape. You want the middle to be thin like you are almost about to rip it but don't and it should be a bit thicker around the edges. Gently slide into the hot oil. Turn after about a minute to cook the other side as well. Once it is lightly golden brown on both sides remove and drain on a cooling rack lined with paper towel.

4. Butter one side with vegan margarine and either sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or just plain sugar and then squeeze with a wedge of lemon. Enjoy them while they are warm!


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