> Beignets and Café au Lait
icon Beignets and Café au Lait
from Café Du Monde, New Orleans

In French, a "beignet" simply means "fried dough". In New Orleans, this means a desert made from deep-fried choux pastry and deeply buried under a pile of confectioner's sugar, consumed late at night (sometimes early in the morning) after a long party, at Café Du Monde on Decatur Street.

Choux is a light pastry dough used to make profiteroles, eclairs, beignets, but also Austrian and Czech Marillenknödel, and Krapfen in Tirol. Traditional choux dough contains only butter, water, flour, and eggs.

Here is a recipe from Nolacuisine.com.


  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup water (110 deg F)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 1/2 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 cup shortening
  • Vegetable oil for frying (Cafe Du Monde uses cottonseed oil)
  • Confectioner's sugar in a shaker or sifter


  1. Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (You could also make this in a food processor, or the old fashioned way, by hand). Let this sit until frothy, about 5 minutes, then add the salt, egg, and evaporated milk.
  2. Mix on low speed, then add half of the flour until it starts to come together, then add the shortening. When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated. Turn the dough onto a floured bench to finish by hand
  3. Knead the dough adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky, smooth dough. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise (I made mine last night and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator).
  4. After the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2-inch thick. With a very sharp knife working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2? wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction. Place the Beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place.
  5. When the Beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 350-360 degrees. Place 2-3 Beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them. When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side (They cook quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil). Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain.
  6. Serve hot topped with lots of powdered sugar, and cafe au lait. At Cafe Du Monde they use coffee and chicory.
  7. YIELD: approximately 24


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Last updated: October 12, 2010
Photograph from Wikimedia Commons used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.