Posted by: njbrown | March 8, 2011

Beignets in the French Market

Beignets in the French Market

On this “Fat Tuesday” – Mardi Gras – my mind has gone back to the late 60s when I visited friends who were living in New Orleans.  I had enjoyed reading the books of Frances Parkinson Keyes about the historical revelries of the Mardi Gras season, the picking of the queens, and New Orleans  high society.  To actually be in New Orleans was a real treat.  My strongest memory of the visit was a trip to the French Market at about midnight for beignets and coffee.  I am not a coffee-drinker, but my friends insisted that the milky, chicory-flavored coffee was a non-negotiable accompaniment to beignets.  Much to my surprise, the coffee tasted more like hot chocolate than the one other cup of coffee I’d tasted in my life, and I was able to enjoy the traditional late night snack in that historic setting.

Apparently, beignets were brought to Louisiana by the Acadian settlers.  They were originally fritters – sometimes with fruit filling.  Over the years, fried dough squares became the defining New Orleans beignets, although sometimes round beignets are served.

Today, I thought of making beignets, but without yeast in the cupboard, I went to the Web for a picture.  As can be seen, the famous Cafe Du Monde beignets are square and covered with powdered sugar.   For those of us who can’t be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, we can at least look at the picture.



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