New Orleans' legendary Cafe Du Monde, famous for its beignets and chicory coffee, opened today after the longest break in its 143-year history. The French Quarter cafe has been closed since Hurricane Katrina swept through the city. Cafe Du Monde suffered only minor damage but had storm-related problems such as no power or drinkable water for several weeks.
Cafe Du Monde serves only coffee and beignets, squares of fried dough with powdered sugar. Tips from Cafe Du Monde on making their delicious beignets are below. You can also visit www.cafedumonde.com/beignetdemo.html.
Cafe Du Monde Beignets
In a bowl, combine two cups of Cafe Du Monde beignet mix with 7 ounces of water. You may have to add a little more or a little less water to achieve a good beignet mix dough, and you may have to make more than one batch to get the hang of it. Mix the ingredients with a spoon until the beignet mix is all mixed with the water. The dough should be relatively soft, like drop biscuit dough. It should not be stiff like pie dough. Do not overmix the dough. You will have tough beignets if you overmix the dough.
Scoop the mix from the bowl onto a well-floured surface. You will need additional flour to roll the dough flat. Roll the beignet dough flat and cut into 2-inch squares using a pizza cutter. From around the edges, you will have scraps of dough left over. Do not try to remix these scraps and cut them into squares. If you do this, you will get tough beignets. Just fry these pieces just the way they are.
Your cooking oil should be at 370° Fahrenheit. We use cottonseed oil at the Cafe Du Monde, and we recommend you use cottonseed oil. However, you may use any vegetable oil you wish. Remember that the temperature of the oil will drop when you add the beignet dough to the oil. Do not add too many pieces to the oil or else the oil temperature will drop and your beignets will fry up flat. They will not puff up. The only other reason the dough does not puff up would be if you rolled the beignet dough too flat. Try rolling the dough a little thicker.
The Cafe Du Monde beignets are traditionally served in orders of three, covered liberally with powdered sugar.
Note: If your beignets fail to puff up and remain flat, this is an indication the frying oil temperature is too low to properly cook the dough. Try using smaller pieces of dough and let the fryer come back to temperature before cooking another batch.