Monday, February 15, 2010

French Market Beignet Doughnuts

Beignets are slightly sweet fritters, deep fried and sprinkled with a generous dousing of powdered sugar. Best when served with a strong New Orleans chicory coffee.

Beignet Doughnuts

It's Shrove Monday, or the Monday before Ash Wednesday, now mostly just referred to as Lundi Gras, meaning that Carnival season is winding down and the Lenten season is about to begin. It is the time that certain Christian denominations, in particular Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran, begin to reflect, prepare for confession, and seek penance to obtain absolution for our sins. It is, in essence, the day before the final blowout - Fat Tuesday. No better appropriate time to bring you my final recipe to add to the Mardi Gras brunch and party foods list for New Orleans Style Café au Lait and French Market Beignets!

Oh my gosh, the memories associated with beignets for me are many and they are all associated with one place, the Café du Mondé coffee stand, in the Old Jackson Square area of the French Market in downtown New Orleans.  Café du Mondé, established in 1862, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for Christmas (and the occasional hurricane threat) and sells primarily two things - chicory coffee and beignets. Beignets are essentially deep fried, only slightly sweet fritters, that are sprinkled with a generous dousing of powdered sugar and served straight out of the fryer. At the coffee stand they come in orders of three, which is just the right amount.


Grabbing a plate of these hot beignets and a cup of café au lait after a long night out and about in town - and more specifically, the French Quarter - was just the ticket to wind down the night, and we did it often. Served primarily al fresco, though they do have a teeny, tiny indoor seating area, it didn't matter whether it was 40 degrees outside or 100, 5:00 o'clock at night, or 3:00 o'clock in the morning, I can never remember being there where this place was not busy. It was and remains a tradition when in New Orleans, along with the silly practice of blowing the powdered sugar off onto one another, a practice everyone hates, but which always seems to happen.

Beignets, like any doughnut, are best served hot and fresh out of the fryer and with a hot cup of café au lait. This batch makes about 30 to 40 squares, depending on how thick you roll them, perfect for a Mardi Gras brunch before the parades. Still looking for some Mardi Gras party food ideas? Click right here and grab some inspiration.

Just want a few beignets or in a hurry? Scroll down to the very bottom and check out my Cheater Beignets!



Recipe: French Market Beignet Doughnuts

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 30 donuts servings

Ingredients
  • 1 envelope (2-1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup of boiling water
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Powdered sugar, sifted
Instructions

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. Whisk the flour and set aside. Pour the boiling water over the shortening and stir until the shortening is melted.

Preheat deep fryer to 360 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the sifted flour with the sugar and salt, melted shortening, milk, egg, and yeast mixture. Add enough additional flour to form a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll thin - somewhere between 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch thick. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 2-inch squares.

Drop into hot fryer and brown on one side until golden, flip and brown on the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels, sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and serve immediately with a piping hot cup of café au lait.

Cook's Notes: Makes between 30 and 40, depending on how thick you roll them. Sometimes you will need all of the flour, sometimes you'll need less - depends on the weather, rain, humidity, etc. in my opinion!

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish

Lagniappe: Easy Cheater Beignets
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1 or 2 cans of plain refrigerator biscuits
Powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat fryer to 360 degrees. Roll out the biscuits until they are thin. Cut in half and drop in the hot oil, browning on one side until golden, flip and brown on the other side. Remove and drain on paper towels, sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and serve immediately.
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Photo Credit Fuzzy at Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Posted by on February 15, 2010
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17 comments:

  1. Hello Mary, first of all thank you for visiting my blog! And then well I could not resist anything with French in the title. This looks delicious! I will give a go.
    I have also become one of your many followers. Looking forward to getting to know your cooking style! xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lentils season is here?! Great, I've been craving a good soup!

    Huh what? Ohhhh. Nevermind, I misunderstood ;)

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  3. When I was in New Orleans I loved visiting Cafe du Monde and having Beignets! Those look so tasty...oh my goodness....

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  4. SWEET HOLY SUGARED LIPS!

    There is nothing better than sitting on the corner of Jackson Square, watching boats tug by on the Mississippi, moss blowing in the live oaks, and sipping a cup of chicory with these little jewels...

    Mr. S and I took the Indians there last March and they covered themselves with powdered sugar...

    Thanks for the recipe, and the fond memories!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my goodness, Mary, you do have the best food where you live! Gosh, the beignets look so sweet and sugary! Only one more day, as you said, until I've gotta give something up for Lent. Hmmmm...I think I'll give up the 'white' stuff to help me lose some more weight! I've already given up French Fries, and that's my hardest thing in the world to live without! Have a great Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras! Roz

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  6. I need to get to New Orleans! Honestly, as I was driving my daughter home from her dance class tonight the word "Beignet" came into my head. Weird, I know. I love your description of the coffee shop. It all sounds wonderful.

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  7. You are so right. There is nothing like Café du Mondé! Loving your recipe for this delicious treat!

    (And I adore your cheat beignets!)

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  8. And if you order 3, you will get 9

    Great post... Keeping this recipe!

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  9. OMG - Now I'm really hungry. And sad that I cannot be in my hometown to enjoy all the Mardi Gras benefits!

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  10. Oh my, how I could go for some of these right now!

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  11. Mary, I'm so glad I found this site. I just used the "cheater" beignets as an energizer for kids doing chores. We all ate too many, but then worked them off! Perfect. Your recipes make me happy!

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  12. Thanks so much Barbie! Yeah, those cheater beignets come in handy for a quick energizer! Glad y'all enjoyed them and thanks for being a loyal reader.

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  13. I was always partial to Miss Mary's (Mary Mahoneys lol) but cafe Dumonde's were good too, their coffee was certainly better.

    I can cook anything but am the worlds WORST baker. When you say 4 cups of sifted flour, does that mean measure out 4 cups of flour and then sift it or does that mean 4 cups of the flour AFTER it's sifted? Can't wait to try this one out, although perhaps I should pass it on to my wife. She's the "baker" in the family.

    Haven't gotten there yet but I'm hoping you have a Mississippi mud recipe on here.............

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  14. I sure miss Mahoney's cafe. They closed it you know. I'm not much of a baker either but these beignets are easy. As far as that sifted flour thing, "4 cups of sifted flour" to me would mean sifted flour first, then measured to 4 cups, where "4 cups of flour, sifted" would mean measure 4 cups first then sift. That said, some people don't think that way when they write their recipes so it can mess things up pretty good if they don't specify.

    I don't have a Mississippi Mud Cake up on the site yet, but email me and I'll send you the recipe. Just haven't gotten around to making it to take pics and put it up. I have mud bars, but they are more dense than the cake. You can find the bars here: http://www.deepsouthdish.com/2009/08/mississippi-mud-bars.html

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  15. i like frozen dinner roll dough better than biscuit dough for cheater beignets. being a yeast dough i think it's closer to a real one. i use rhodes brand.

    mike in rabbit hash, ky.

    ReplyDelete
  16. We live in Myrtle Beach SC and love New Orleans. We try to get down there at least 2 times a year. There is nothing better than strolling the streets around Jackson Square and talking to the people. We share so much....we're southern, warm, friendly people....lovin' life! I guarantee!

    ReplyDelete

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