Chicory Beignet Filling · GF (about 1 1/2 cups)

This makes just enough custard to fill a dozen Buttermilk Beignets.

In Lexington, you can find chicory sold in bulk at the Good Foods Coop. For those located elsewhere, you can buy pure chicory from many sources online, just be sure to buy it, not ground. Sweet Marias is a good source, but Google and Amazon will turn up many other options.

chicory cafe au lait custard filled beignets

I’ve had great success substituting coconut milk for whole milk, if you are in need of a non-dairy version.

8 ounces whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds reserved
1 ounce French roast coffee beans (whole, not ground)
1 ounce roasted chicory (again, whole not ground)
4 ounces sugar
3/4 ounce cornstarch
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Have a mesh sieve on hand for straining the custard, if necessary.

Bring the milk, along with the vanilla bean, coffee beans, and chicory, to a boil in a small pot. Turn off heat and set aside to steep for at least one hour.

After the hour is up, stir the mixture and use a spoon to taste a bit. If the flavor is not strong enough for your liking, return it to a boil, shut off the heat, and continue steeping. As with all things coffee, “strong enough” is wildly subjective. Please taste and “brew” the milk to your liking, bearing in mind the addition of sugar later in the recipe will soften the flavor.

In a medium bowl blend together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Use your fingers, if necessary, to rub the seeds into the sugar to break up any lumps. Whisk the egg and yolk into the vanilla sugar mix.

When the milk has steeped to your satisfaction, bring it back to a simmer and then strain out the coffee, chicory, and vanilla bean. (Straining the mixture while hot, rather than cold, helps prevent cold milk from clinging to the coffee.) You mad need to add a splash of milk to bring this liquid back to 8 ounces if the coffee beans absorbed a significant quantity. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the thick, milky vanilla pulp from the inside of the vanilla bean and whisk that into the eggs. Return the milk to its pot and set the heat to medium.

Whisk some hot milk into the eggs, a little at a time. It will be thick at first but then loosen up as the milk incorporates. Temper in more hot milk until the eggs have warmed.

At this stage, add the tempered egg/milk mixture back into the hot milk on the stove, whisking all the while. Take care to whisk all parts of the pot, so that none of the milk scorches. Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes quite thick. Once the mixture starts to bubble sluggishly, keep whisking and let it bubble for a full minute to thoroughly cook out the cornstarch.

If the mixture looks at all lumpy, use a spatula to press it through a sieve. If it looks silky smooth, congrats.

The next step depends on you.

If you’re ready to fill your Buttermilk Beignets, go ahead and transfer the warm custard straight to the pastry bag. This is my favorite way to do it, as the warm custard pipes easily and has a deliciously gooey texture.

If you haven’t wrangled a pastry bag into submission before (or if you have and found it frustrating), these 12 tips for using a pastry bag will make the process mess and stress free.

The filling is perfectly lovely even cold. So, if you’re not going to fill your Buttermilk Beignets for a while, stash the filled pastry bag in the fridge. Pour any remaining custard into a container, press plastic wrap against the surface to prevent it from skinning, and refrigerate until needed.


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Any questions?

Apr 03, 2013 ·  4:07 PM

So custard and creme patissiere are the same thing? for some reason I never realized that… oh well. Is there any difference?

 · Lilly · 

Apr 03, 2013 ·  7:36 PM

Hi Lilly! I wouldn’t say they’re the same thing, it’s more of a squares and rectangles sort of issue. All pastry cream is a type of custard, but not all custards will work like pastry cream. Specifically, pastry cream is cornstarch thickened and doesn’t usually have any actual cream in it, though is often fortified with butter. Hope that explains things!


Jul 11, 2013 ·  4:13 AM

Hi Stella,

Love your site! Was wondering if I could use the cafe du monde chicory coffee instead of the coffee beans and chicory separately. Thanks!

 · Nikki V · 

Jul 11, 2013 ·  4:49 PM

Hi Nikki! Yeah, absolutely! I haven’t had a chance to play with the official Cafe Du Monde stuff, so you may have to adjust the quantities to taste, but it should work out just fine. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out!


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