Friday March 4, 2011

Buttermilk Beignets or should I say, beign YAY?

Look. I could yammer on about New Orleans, pretend to offer you some insights into the cultural traditions of Carnival in general and Mardi Gras in particular, or ramble on about my own experiences in the Big Easy, pretending as if I were the only person alive to have ever consumed an entire plate of beignets at Cafe du Monde.

But, to be honest, I don’t know much about Mardi Gras; I’ve only been to New Orleans twice, and I wasn’t impressed with the beignets. Yeah, I get it. Fried dough and powdered sugar. I went to culinary school, you gotta do more than that to impress me.

I don’t wanna turn into that lame, holier than thou jerk that spoils the holiday, though. I fully endorse beads, doubloons, fun-type costumes, and fried dough. And to prove it, I stand at the ready with beignets, powdered sugar, and Carnivale masks.

Mardis Gras beignets

Buttermilk beignets, actually.

To balance out my last recipe (for Mont Blanc), which even I find a little taxing to prepare, these beignets only take a few minutes. They have a short rise time, which means they miss out on the complex yeasty flavors that go with a long, slow rise, but the addition of vanilla bean and buttermilk more than make up for it.

There’s only two hours between the time you decide, “Heck yeah, I’m making beignets!” to the moment you’ll unleash a snowstorm of powdered sugar over them.

traditional beignets with powdered sugar

Because that’s what I remember most about Cafe du Monde. That the beignets and powdered sugar come out in a nearly 1:1 ratio.

Which looks pretty, but makes breathing a total pain. Inhale as you take a bite, choke to death. Exhale too soon, spray yourself and anyone in a five foot radius in powdered sugar. I guess that’s the price of tasty.

My café au lait made with chicory easily made up the best part of my New Orleans beignet experience, though.

Beignets and chicory (especially in a café au lait) go hand in hand. Or one in hand and one in mug. But they should go hand in hand, and now they do. I give you beignets filled with chicory café au lait custard.

beignets filled with chicory custard

Believe it or not, even with the addition of Chicory Custard, you can still take these these Beignets from start to finish in two hours.

You’ll have more than enough time to whip up a tiny batch of custard while the beignets rise.

Are you doing anything special for Mardis Gras this year? I’d love to hear your plans, and I am in dire need of some dinner suggestions. When it comes to things not sugar I’m at a total loss.

posted byStellaand filed under:  Cakes  Sideshow Photos  Vanilla

25 comments and counting

Mar 04, 2011 · 12:53 PM

This looks even better than the French Market’s. There is something to be said for al fresco at midnight in the Big E with a plate of fried bread and sugar, but your take satisfies my perpetual craving for filled pastries, whether it’s a raspberry jelly doughnut or chocolate eclairs. This sounds way better than its basic inspiration. Way to go. Laissez les bons temps rouler

 · deadly · 

Mar 04, 2011 ·  2:01 PM

I’m intrigued with the chicory custard, definitely make the beignets sound even more amazing! Because really, buttermilk dough fried and covered in powdered sugar is pretty awesome to start.

 · Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen ·

Mar 04, 2011 ·  3:08 PM

Yum! I’ve only been to New Orleans once — hubby and I won a free trip there for Mardi Gras, lucky fools we were. And we for sure ate at Cafe du Monde to of course sample their beignets and cafe au lait. Yours look divine, though, with the addition of custard inside! Oh man, that would go lovely with my coffee right now! :-p

 · Steph @ okie dokie artichokie ·

Mar 04, 2011 ·  5:55 PM

I’m dying to go to New Orleans! Definitely on the top of my US list.

I’ve also never have chicory and coffee before. Must try!

 · Jessica ·

Mar 04, 2011 ·  6:38 PM

@Deadly, I’ve got the Fat Tuesday hook ups for you. Be in touch.

@Steph, lucky lucky! Sounds like a wonderful, romantic trip.

@Jessica, the chicory I bought to make these was imported from France! You should definitely be on the look out at the supermarché. It kind of adds a chocolate-y note. Super delicious, if you’re a coffee drinker at any rate.


Mar 04, 2011 ·  6:38 PM

Muffaleta, you could make the bread and fill it with the goodness..although it involves pork product.

But I’ve had it about 6 times on my two trips to NOLA, including one for the road.

I can’t do shellfish though, so I can’t speak to that. Barry loved the shrimp maque choux though.

 · Mousey · 

Mar 05, 2011 · 10:42 AM

Love your recipe, it looks like a great combo of some NOLA favorites, so glad you commented on my cupcake recipe, I look forward to reading your blog.

 · Lauren ·

Mar 05, 2011 ·  7:22 PM

I have been obsessed with this post all day. As a matter of fact, I have been SO obsessed with making this recipe that I went to my already completed FreshDirect order and CHANGED it to have all of the ingredients to make this. Again, obsessed. Thank you very much for posting this! (Alright, I thank you, my fiancee is grumbling something about expanding waistlines…

 · KP · 

Mar 05, 2011 ·  7:29 PM

@KP, thanks so much for your wonderful comment. I’ll try to put aside my raging jealousy that you get to use FreshDirect and just focus on how glad I am you’ll have everything you need! Chicory can be a pain to find, sometimes, but well worth it. I’m excited to hear how it turns out for you! I’m a twitter junkie, so if you run into any beignet troubles (which I doubt) tweet me up @thebravetart. Cheers!


Mar 06, 2011 ·  1:24 AM

BEIGNETS!!! That’s what I associate New Orleans with! And of course Mardi Gras but mostly I want to try authentic New Orleans beignets! Yum!

Love that picture of snowing of powdered sugar!!!

 · Nicole ·

Mar 06, 2011 ·  3:23 AM

Sounds similar to doughnuts? except easier because you don’t have to shape it…you go the extra mile to put in some delicious sounding fillings! mmm..must try it one of these days!

 · Jeannie ·

Mar 06, 2011 ·  2:04 PM

Jeannie, beignets have a sort of ambiguous definition if you look ‘em up on Wikipedia. They’re sort of a French umbrella term for fried dough, especially ones with some sort of filling. At Cafe du Monde, they serve them cut into squares, which I love because of the sheer simplicity. Hope you give them a shot!


Mar 07, 2011 ·  9:56 AM

Well that just seems like the most Mardi Gras treat ever! Yum! I love chicory, so I might be biased!

 · Lindsay @eat, knit, grow ·

Mar 08, 2011 · 10:04 PM

Alright, before I collapse into a blissful sugar coma, I just have to say: OH. MY. HECK! These are amazing. And honestly, not too difficult! I did make some minor tweaks to the filling but this recipe is phenomenal. Thank you!

 · KP ·

Mar 09, 2011 ·  1:57 PM

I fell in love with beignets in NO! Your version looks amazing!

 · Tiffany ·

Mar 10, 2011 · 11:02 AM

@Lindsay, if you love chicory, then you would definitely enjoy the custard base. Maybe even just as a pudding…

@KP, I’m so glad you tried them out, thanks for making your way back over here to report on it.

@Tiffany, I think being in New Orleans would certainly help one fall in love with just about anything. Esp fried treats covered in sugar.


Mar 14, 2011 ·  2:03 AM

Oh my yum!!! These look incredible! This just happens to be the second beignets recipe I’ve come across. I’m desperate now- I need to try them!

 · Tammy ·

Mar 17, 2011 ·  8:45 PM

Yum! Can’t wait to try these out.

 · egb ·

Mar 19, 2011 · 12:00 PM

Thanks! Let me know if you ever make ‘em.


Nov 08, 2012 ·  1:51 AM

YUMMY!!! I’m going to try making this with your pastry cream filling flavored with (adapted..) garam masala. Which means it might end up tasting like chai.. but that’s good

 · Fimo · 

Nov 08, 2012 ·  9:35 AM

Hi Fimo! omg, I love anything garam masala. Sounds like a major win! You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Might be a good time to use coconut milk instead of plain!


Jun 14, 2013 ·  7:19 PM

LMAO …sorry I know this post is from awhile ago, but it just made me laugh out loud here at my desk (yes, working very hard this friday night at 8:15pm here in Canada! [Eh!]) LoL

Anyways the part that I found hilarious was the breathing… inhale/exhale too soon or too late…
so true! and funny! (for some reason)! …maybe I just need one of those chickory coffees you speak of. Either way, thanks for the laugh, sorry for this novel of a comment :S

 · Heather · 

Jun 18, 2013 ·  9:10 AM

Hi Heather! Oh, it’s never too late to start a conversation about chocking up on powdered sugar, haha. Always the right time. Is chickory a thing up in Canada? I have it in my mind that it made its way to New Orleans via the French, so it seems like it would be…


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