“You’re going to make what AND put them on your blog?”
This was the confused/horrified reaction of a few friends when I told them I was cooking up ‘beaver tails’ for my next post. They thought I had gone completely mad, and no doubt were also wondering where, in fact, I would find some beaver tails in Australia? Then I explained….
I first discovered this Canadian pastry while living in Canada in 2000 and working the ski season in Banff. For my non- Canadian readers, a “beavertail” is a fried sweet cakey pastry dusted in cinnamon not unlike a flat donut and is a Canadian institution to be found on the ski hills. The shape is like a beaver tail owing to its name. I used to inhale them hot, slathered with melting nutella or caramel and it was always the perfect ending to a day of snow boarding without fail.
I was recently reminded of these little pockets of hot crispy, donut-y goodness when giving my good friend Bea travel tips on her impending trip to Canada last month. You can read about her incredibly romantic reunion with her other half on her very funny blog here.
While in Canada, Bea was going out for a day of skiing with “Bill” (not his real name – “Bill” is a little blog shy). I imagined her being reunited at the bottom of the slopes at the end of the day with pastry in hand, untold love in her eyes (or was it her stomach?) and nutella accidentally smeared on her face that Bill would find sweetly endearing.
Unfortunately, Bea was so distracted by Bill that she managed to ski right on past the beavertails shop and straight into the car park. This may or may not be a little creative fabrication on my behalf, but either way, she did not get to experience the untold joy and wonder that is a ‘beavertail. So, in the face of this tragedy, I promised I would post a recipe on the blog so she could still relive little bit of Canada, post holiday. Happy eating Bea!
Particularly wonderful eating when the weather is awful, but so good anytime, you really need no excuse to eat beavertails. A word of warning though, my other half thought Christmas had come early on trying the samples and ate so many he actually made himself ill (this was rather amusing). Stopping at one is extremely difficult – Good luck!
Canadian Beaver Tail Pastries
Makes 20-30 Beavertails
*This recipe is adapted from Food.com and is in no way associated with the actual Beavertails company.
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
5 cups self raising flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)
6 Tbl of butter
1/2 cup of cream
1 cup of brown sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar.
- Allow to stand a couple of minutes to allow yeast to swell or dissolve.
- Stir in remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil, salt, and most of flour to make soft dough.
- Knead 5-8 minutes (by hand or with a dough hook), adding flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough.
- 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).
- Let rise in a covered, lightly greased bowl; about 30-40 minutes.
- Gently deflate dough. (If dough is coming out of the fridge, allow to warm up for about 40 minutes before proceeding).
- 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.
- Heat about 5cm of oil in fryer in a wok. After a few minutes, drop a little dough in the oil. If it sizzles and browns up, then the oil is ready.
- Add the dough pieces to the hot oil, about 1-2 at a time.
- 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.
- Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown. Do not walk away from the stove as the tails will quickly burn
- Lift the tails out with tongs and drain on paper towels.
- Immediately toss the tails in cinnamon sugar and shake off excess
- To make caramel, add butter and brown sugar to cream in a saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat until thick and all ingredients have dissolved into each other.
- SMOTHER your beavertail with your favourite topping such as jam and cream, salted caramel, stewed apples and icecream, nutella or maple syrup.