In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water;
stir to dissolve and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add sugar, salt, beaten egg, evaporated milk, vanilla, lemon and coconut essence. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
Add 4 cups of the flour; beat until smooth. Add shortening and mix.
You will get a very sticky dough. Leave it in the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
When the dough has rested the required amount, flour a clean surface, roll dough out on floured board to 1/2 cm thickness.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan; initially you will want to heat it on high heat, and as you start frying the beignets, you may have to turn the heat down a bit.
Cut rolled out dough into 5 cm squares. Deep fry at 180°C for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned on both sides; make sure you don’t overcrowd the saucepan.
The beignets fry pretty quickly.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.