Back in the days when our nation was in the grips of civil war, a little French doughnut and coffee shop opened in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The year was 1862 and the shop was Cafe du Monde, which is still standing in the same place and seemingly serving the same doughnuts and coffee it was serving 150 years ago. Of course, being French the dougnuts are actually beignets and the coffee is cafe au lait, which are much more than just a translation.
You see, beignets (pronounced ben-yays) are not your classic hole-filled doughnuts. Instead, they are just squarish hunks of fried dough topped with powdered sugar. Lots of it. Being only two of us, we made the ridiculous decision of ordering 4 plates of the things, each of which had 3 beignets. This was, of course, a ludicrous amount of beignets, but I did my best to take them down because they were just so damn delicious. Imagine elephant ears that come in smaller pieces and and fried much better than any carnival could ever do. That’s the beignets of Cafe du Monde. And even better? They somehow aren’t heavy or greasy. They’re just right.
While I may not be a beignet expert, I have no doubt that Cafe du Monde knows how to do them right. After all, they’ve had 153 years to perfect the recipe.