A beignet (pronounced /bɛnˈjeɪ/ in English, /bɛˈɲɛ/ in French; French, literally "bump" ) in the U.S. is a pastry made from deep-fried dough, much like a doughnut, and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, or frostings. Savory versions of beignets are also popular as an appetizer, with fillings such as maple or fruit preserves. Yeast is used as the leavening agent in beignets.
In France, beignet is an umbrella term for a large variety of pastries made from deep-fried dough with fruit filling. The tradition of deep-frying fruits for a side dish dates to the time of Ancient Rome. Names for beignet recipes vary throughout France: beignets, bugnes, merveilles, oreillettes, beignets de carnaval, bottereaux, tourtisseaux, corvechets, ganses, nouets, vautes and others.