Just when I was getting over glutting myself on King Cake, reader Foamheart sent me an email including photos of his Mardi Gras morning beignets. Now, I have to say, the photos made my mouth water, and I forgot all about King Cake. Give me a nice golden, crispy-on-the-outside and chewy-on-the-inside authentic beignet over King Cake any day!
Mounds of sugar-coated deliciousness vanish from plates by the thousands in places like Cafe Du Monde and Morning Call in New Orleans, drawing tourists year-round. However, down here on the bayou, we have our own dens of deliciousness that make beignets to rival those city slickers!
My favorite beignets are found at the Terrebonne ARC Cafe–and at 3 for $1.25 and $4.50 a dozen, you just can’t beat that anywhere. We started enjoying beignets at the Terrebonne ARC cafe when Danno was in a high chair. He’s now 26, so what does that tell you? And if something ain’t broke, why fix it? The recipe is still as good as it was back then and the prices haven’t changed much, either.
Pronounced “ben yay”, no matter how you say it, they are just plain delicious. Since I’ve never attempted home-made beignets (not to be confused with Houma Indian galatte, but similar), I’m happy to feature Foamheart’s “Uncle Goldie’s” beignets. He lives very near the Mississippi River where the traditional Christmas Eve bonfires still burn each year and where, evidently, we can eat fresh beignets on Mardi Gras morning if we happen to stop by!
- 1 cup Evaporated Milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 package Rapid Rise yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- Pinch of fresh nutmeg
- Pour the warm milk into a large bowl.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, the yeast, and a heaping tablespoon of the flour into the milk, mixing with a whisk, until both the sugar and the yeast have dissolved.
- Once bubbles have developed on the surface of the milk and it begins to foam, whisk in the butter, salt, egg, nutmeg, and vanilla.
- Add the remaining flour and sugar.
- Knead the dough by hand in the bowl for about 5 minutes
- Divide the dough into 4-5 balls if you want to cook more than one day.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 6–8 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
- Cut into 2-inch squares, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow the beignets to rise for about an hour.
- Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over high heat until it reaches 350°F.
- Use a candy thermometer to check temperature.
- Fry the beignets in small batches in the hot oil, turning them every 30 seconds or so with tongs, until golden brown all over.
- Use tongs to remove beignets from the oil and drain on paper towels.
- Put the powdered sugar into a fine-mesh strainer and dust the warm beignets generously with the sugar.
Here’s what Foamheart has to say about the recipe:
Listen this ain’t light bread dough, there is a whole stick a butter in these babies! A friend long ago showed me about dividing the dough into balls before the rise. It makes separating more easy cause unless its a formal Mardi Gras brunch this makes a bunch. 4 or 5 dozen easy. This way I can cook a little at a time for the next few days. Nice around Mardi Gras for when folks show up.
Now, for his Uncle Goldie’s Irish Cream:
14 oz Sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2C Irish whiskey
1t Instant coffee crystals – I use Community Dark Roast
2T Chocolate syrup (adding more does NOT help the flavor)
1cap Vanilla extract
Thank you, Goldie, for offering up these beautiful beignets for all to see and drool over! I hope to try these out in the BW test kitchen soon! Can’t wait to see what you send me next!
Looking forward to spring,