Make the lemon curd: Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 1–2 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and lemon zest to the top of the double boiler or a large heatproof bowl. Set over the boiling water, increase the heat to high, and whisk with a silicone whisk for 10–15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and looks like Hollandaise sauce. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt until melted and fully incorporated.
Transfer the curd to a clean heatproof bowl or a jar and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill the lemon curd in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until set.
Make the beignets: Pour the water into a medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup and sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over the top. Stir to combine. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the milk, eggs, melted butter, and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead with your hands until it comes together in a smooth ball, about 2 minutes.
Grease a clean large bowl with canola oil. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a wire rack nearby.
Punch the dough down with your fist, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into about 35 2-inch squares, then transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheet
Working with 3–4 at a time, gently lower the dough squares into the hot oil. As soon as the beignets puff up, about 2 minutes, use tongs or a spider to gently flip over. Fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed, 2–3 minutes more. Transfer the beignets to a wire rack to drain and cool completely.
Transfer the lemon curd to a piping bag fitted with a metal star tip.
Cut a small “x” with a paring knife in the side of each beignet, then fill with a small amount of lemon curd.
Dust the beignets with powdered sugar.
Need easy dinner ideas?
These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)