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Happy Mardi Gras!  Yes, I’m a day late…  I honestly didn’t realize that yesterday was Fat Tuesday until, oh, about 5 o’clock yesterday night…  But, hey, at least I remembered eventually.  For those of us in New England, Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday really isn’t that big a deal, especially since winter storm Nemo killed what little party spirit we had when he saw fit to dump about two feet of snow at the end of last week (stupid, lying groundhog).

, on the other hand, have always loved Mardi Gras.  I’m not sure why…  I’ve never been to so much as a Mardi Gras party, much less down to New Orleans to the real thing.  I’ve actually never even been to New Orleans, even though I’m fascinated by it.  I’m a big fan of the food, the drinks, the history, and the whole unique culture the area seems to hold.  I’ve always wanted to go, one day I mean to go, and perhaps one day, when I choose a vacation destination other then Disney World, I’ll actually make it down there.  Maybe New Orleans should have a “free dining” promotion?

Anyway, to celebrate, I decided to bring a little New Orleans (courtesy of Disney World, of course) to my unreasonably cold home in New Hampshire.  No, not Hurricanes (the liquor store didn’t have any of the mix!  Can you believe that?!), but beignets from Port Orleans.  Now, I’ve never actually stayed at Port Orleans, but I did wander around the property after taking the ferry from Downtown.  It’s a gorgeous resort and it really feels like New Orleans.  And the food court there smells ah-mazing.  I think it goes without saying, one of the specialties of the resort are their beignets, which I was told, are made using both the exact recipe and some fryers formally from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.  I’m told that you’ll never find a more authentic take on beignets without going to New Orleans.

When I did this recipe, I used the recipe that’s from Port Orleans/New Orleans, but instead of cutting them into the more traditional square/rectangle shape, I went with what they do in Disneyland and cut them with my Mickey cookie cutter.  Less authentic to New Orleans, more authentic to Disney…  And way more fun to eat.  Plus everything tastes better when it’s shaped like Mickey.  That’s just common culinary knowledge and an undisputed fact.

As is served at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory and other locations at Port Orleans Resort
°o°  1 pack dry yeast

°o°  1 1/2 cups warm water
°o°  1/2 cup sugar

°o°  2 eggs
°o°  7 cups flour
°o°  1 teaspoon salt
°o°  1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
°o°  1/4 cup soft shortening oil, for frying (substitute oil)
°o°  powdered sugar for dusting
°o°  honey for drizzling (optional)
In a bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water.  Stir to dissolve and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes while yeast activates.  Add sugar, salt, eggs, and milk and blend well.  Slowly incorporate flour.  Allow dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into 2 1/2 inch squares or cut using a shaped cookie cutter, kneading and re-rolling dough to recut as needed (keeping in mind that each time the dough is reworked, the dough will toughen and the beignets will be denser).  Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Deep fry in 350 degree oil for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.  Drizzle with honey and top liberally with powdered sugar.  Serve immediately.

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