Tuesday, January 8, 2008

There's No Place Like Home Pt. 2

New Orleans is my adopted home. I spent three very formative years there and fell in love with the culture, the people, the architecture and the food, especially the food. One of my favorite New Orleans treats is a cafe au lait and beignets. Breakfast, late night, afternoon at the mall -- they are wonderful at any time.

The undisputed home of of the beignet is Cafe Du Monde. One of New Orleans' favorite coffees is Community Coffee New Orleans Blend. I am fortunate enough to have a little bit of both here in Chicago. (Thank God for travelling family members.) I could order the beignet mix and coffee online, but it's a much better story when I have family bring them.
Start with the coffee. The smell of it makes you work faster to get the beignets done! The coffee is already ground and has chicory added. Add scalded milk (same amount as the coffee) to your cup and you have cafe au lait. Sip this as you make the beignets.

The beignets are really easy. Just add water to the mix to make a dough. Roll out the dough. Flour your board well; the dough is sticky.
Cut your squares. The box recommends 2 1/4 inch squares. They are served bigger at the restaurant. I use a pizza cutter for my squares. I heard Sara Moulton say that if you either pushed the cutter away of pulled it toward you, you'd make straight lines every time. I can't ever remember which it was.
Next is the hot grease. These must be deep fried at 370. I'll give you a tip that's not on the box. Once you drop the beignets in and the float back up, use a spoon to splash the oil onto the top of the dough as it floats. Of course you need to do this away from you. This helps the dough plump up into those famous pillows. Cook until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar. Make a second cafe au lait. Prepare for some good and occasionally messy eating. Tools of the trade:

1 comment:

sf said...

I make these beignets, too! Pretty easy and fun for the fam! The coffee I get is actually the Cafe du Monde chicory coffee, which comes caffeinated (for me) decaf (for some of my gfs), and the tin is reusable. If I ever come across the Community coffe, I'll give it a whirl. Haven't been back to
NO since the week before Katrina, but I have been missing it...not as much as I miss Chicago of course!