(Editor’s Note: Our partner publication, Ashburn Magazine, published this article just prior to the opening of Bilstad’s Beignets last week.)
“Poofy.” “Pillowy.” “Pillow poofiness.”
These are some of the words Scott Bilstad comes up with as he tries to describe his signature beignets. His secret ingredient: time – letting the dough proof, or rest, longer than a typical baker might.
“We do a 12-hour proof,” he said. “We let the dough proof overnight so it can leaven and so you get that nice pillow poofiness.”
And it must be working because he and his wife, Jenny, sell so many beignets that they are about to open their first bakery café right in the heart of Ashburn.
It’s been a winding road for Bilstad’s Beignets, which will be at 20937 Ashburn Road, Suite 150 and is scheduled to open on October 12. The purveyor of the famous puffed French pastry – pronounced “ben-yay” – got its start back in the depths of the pandemic.
Scott had been furloughed from his job with U.S. Foods. The Navy veteran and longtime executive chef was champing at the bit for something to do besides spend all day with the couple’s two young children.
“I’ve walked our neighborhood 800 times – it’s two square blocks. And I can’t watch anymore Disney Jr.,” Jenny recalled Scott saying. “I’ve got to cook.”