Hungry for a Beaver Tail? No Canadian winter can pass without eating at least one. These sweet, flat, donut-like pastries were a staple among early settlers, who stretched dough into the shape of a beaver’s tail in order to bake them easily over an open fire. Zoom forward to 1978 when BeaverTails Canada Inc. trademarked the treat and began selling them to skaters on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. They’re now a sold in iconic outdoor stalls at winter destinations across the country, including Muskoka. But you can make your own, too. We’ve got a recipe courtesy of The Food Network plus a how-to video right here!
Beaver Tail Recipe
1/4 cup warm water
8g pkg or 2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, warmed
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 L vegetable oil for deep-frying
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the warm water, warm milk, yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Add melted butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Give everything a good mix together. Add flour and mix with the dough hook (or with a wooden spoon if you’re not using a mixer) and mix until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead for about 6 minutes in the mixer and 10 minutes by hand, until the dough is smooth, silky. Use extra flour if dough is sticky.
3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. Punch down dough and place onto a lightly floured countertop. Shape into 8 equal sized pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into an oval shape. If you like, score a crisscross pattern in the top of dough.
5. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and leave to rise, covered, for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
6. Make cinnamon sugar by combining sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
7. Heat a large wide pot with about two inches of oil. Heat to 350F/176C. If you don’t have a thermometer, check the oil’s temperature by tearing off a small piece of dough and see if it sizzles and floats to the surface. Keep a close eye on the oil, adjust temperature as needed to prevent it from getting too hot. If you see it smoking or crackling take off the heat to cool down before frying.
8. Fry your doughnuts on each side for 30-60 seconds until they are golden brown. Dunk immediately in cinnamon sugar or top with lemon and sugar, Nutella, jam, whipped cream, fruit maple butter … or be creative! Set up a a toppings bar and allow your family to create their own.
Need a visual? YouTube chef Vijaya Selvaraju offer’s a step-by-step how-to: