Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beignets and Cafe au Lait for Mardi Gras!



Happy Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras in French!

It has been quite a few years since I've been to New Orleans. One of the most memorable parts of the trip was sitting at the Café du Monde, at the end of the French Market next to the Mississippi River, drinking Chicory coffee and eating the fabulous deep-fried pastries called Beignets.



"The location of the French Market and of New Orleans dates back to the Choctaw Indians, before the Europeans settled the New World. The Choctaw Indians used this natural Mississippi river levee location to trade their wares to the river traffic.

The early European settlers came by boat to this location to sell produce and dairy products. The City of New Orleans was established on this location of the Mississippi River in 1718 by Jean Baptiste LeMoyne. This old New Orleans is called the "Vieux Carre" or French Quarter. The French Market now comprises of seven buildings anchored at the Jackson Square end by the Cafe Du Monde and on the other end by the Farmers and Flea Market sheds."*

Here is my homage to Mardi Gras and the Café du Monde with homemade Beignets.


They turned out exactly as I remembered them - airy and light puffs of sugared dough and perfect with a cup of coffee.

Beignets à la Cafe du Monde

Adapted from Allrecipes.com
~from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Servings: 10-12 depending on portion size

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying (Cafe du Monde recommends cottonseed oil)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar placed in a paper lunch bag

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, evaporated milk, and blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.

Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil. If beignets do not pop up, oil is not hot enough. Drain onto paper towels. I used my trusty old Fry Baby but a deep saucepan would also work.

Place several Beignets at a time in the paper bag with confectioners' sugar and shake until coated.

Serve warm.

19 comments:

  1. I love it!!!!!!! What a great post Susan. And I love that you made beignets. I was going to do that too but just ran out of time. I'm glad we have some variety at our party. Beautiful post and love what you did with the Cafe Du Monde pic. That is a perfect picture spot in my opinion. Thanks so much for coming to the party! (I'm sneaking on here at work..just had to see what you did)

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  2. Ohm they look so good! Great job, loved the cafe pic too...
    Let the good times roll, Susan, life is short!

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  3. What a perfect way to start fat Tuesday!

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  4. We eat a LOT of beignets here in the South! Your pictures are beautiful!!!

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  5. Susan, you know how to celebrate. I've been out of town, so celebrating Mardi Gras was not an option.

    Anyway, your entry brings back memories of my last trip to N.O.
    You'd think I'd try making their much-loved beignets, at least once, but then, I wouldn't have any excuse to go back there.
    Kidding, of course.

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  6. Susan, Suzy's Mardi Gras party and your post have brought back lots of memories. John used to travel 3-4 times a year to New Orleans and I would go on occasion. I also have fond memories of Café du Monde and watching the huge ships in port.

    Your homemade beignets look fabulous. Thanks for the brief history lesson. We always enjoyed watching the artists in Jackson Square. Such an alive, diverse city with a rich history...

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  7. Susan, I just came to your blog from Foodgawker Post #16895. :)

    The beignets look wonderful... Congratulations.

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  8. Bonjour and welcome back~
    They look sinfully delish Susan~

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  9. These look so good! I wish I could reach in and grab a few ;-)

    What did you think of chicory coffee?

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  10. Susan, this is a super post! Love the Cafe du Monde graphic. It is a great spot. I remember, although it's been a long time. And look at you, up early to make Beignets! Good choice... excellent pics, as always!

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  11. Great pics, Susan! The Beignets look amazing! You definitely did have something delicious up your sleeve! great post!

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  12. Susan, the beignets look sinfully good!!! You mean we could have had those for breakfast if we had all shown up!! lol

    Always enjoy your history perspectives... something new all the time!

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  13. Thank you, everyone! It was fun participating in Suzy's Mardi Gras party and I loved making these. They really did taste a lot like how I remembered them at Cafe du Monde. Sinful, yes. I also think I have enough dough left for 25 more people so come on over tomorrow, Barb :)

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  14. Susan, I love beignets, and yes sinful! Thank you for including the history. It was fun participating in Suzy's Mardi Gras party. One of these days, I might get to Cafe du Monde.

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  15. Thanks for visiting our blog. I am glad I found yours. The beignets look divine!

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  16. Hello Susan, love your beignets and the colorful ribbon decorations. So funny, but just tonight we were looking at old slides which we only yesterday received back from the people who transferred them (6,200 of them) to dvd - and they started with Ken in New Orleans in the Navy in 1959!

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  17. These beignets are calling this old Louisiana girl's name. Everything I've attempted lately has been bitter (inedible) or burned (edible after food surgery), so I'm ready for beignets and lots of coffee.

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  18. Wow, your beignets look just like the famed Cafe Du Monde doughnuts! I may have to make some with your recipe tonight!

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  19. A book I was reading had Cafe du Monde in it and talked a lot about the beignets. Ever since I have wanted to try them and now I can. Yeah! I'm so glad I found your post!

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