New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee is located where Jackson Square meets the Mississippi River, next to the historic French Quarter landmark—Jackson Brewery. Our outdoor patio offers an optimal vantage point to enjoy a timeless French Quarter view, and observe the bustling passersby. No visit to the Big Easy is complete without “Goin fo’ coffee an’ doughnuts”—referring to a legendary local culinary tradition: Beignets and Café au Lait.
Beignets are essentially French style doughnuts, made with a special dough known in Creole cuisine as pâte à choux. There is no yeast in the mixture. Instead, these succulent pastries rely on steam, created when the high moisture dough endures the fry process. Steam not only serves as an effective leavening agent, but it also gives Beignets their exceedingly light and fluffy, yet moist texture.
Typically, when one thinks of a Beignet, they imagine a fried pastry covered in powdered sugar. But we've taken the menu at New Orleans Famous Beignets even further--filling beignets full of peaches and others with smoked sausage.
We also couldn't resist crab and crawfish filled beignets, served atop New Orleans Famous Jambalaya -- and neither will you! Be sure and save room for a cup of New Orleans Famous Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, our perfected version of the classic Cajun recipe.
History of the Beignet
The tradition of preparing and consuming Beignets is historically linked to the day before Lent, also known as Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” or “Shrove Tuesday.” The opportunity for an indulgence in the delicious pastry, that was an expensive process to make, was welcomed because the treats were a way to use up all the sugar and fat in the house prior to Lent.
Migration of the Beignet
- Dated back to Ancient Rome, Europeans enjoyed a similar sweet dough fried in animal fat, called scriblita.
- Over time, French chefs evolved the concept of scriblita into a choux pastry—a pastry that does not use a rising agent such as yeast, but instead uses its own steam from the moisture in the dough to rise.
- Some historians have been led to believe that the Ursuline Nuns brought the beignet recipe with them when they came over from France in 1726. This is in fact the incorrect historical path to New Orleans.
- In the 17th Century, French settlers migrated to the Acadia region of Nova Scotia, bringing with them the recipe of this fried delicacy.
- In 1755 during Le Grande Derangement (“The Great Trouble”) The British forced the ‘Acadians’ out of Canada, and one of the largest groups of exiles ended up on the shores of South Louisiana. Over time the Acadians became known as ‘Cajuns.’ Acadians brought their culture and traditions, including the delicious treat that New Orleans celebrates—the beignet.