Several years ago, my daughter, Lucie and I were sent a review copy of Disney's Princess and the Frog to watch and review. Lucie loved Tiana, the princess story and funny characters like Louis the trumpet playing gator. I enjoyed the animation, Randy Newman’s music, and references to the culture and food of New Orleans – especially the beignets!
Most of all I loved how Tiana’s dream was about cooking and opening up a restaurant. Not since Ratatouille has a Disney movie appealed to the cook in me. (Bet you didn’t know that Emeril Lagasse voiced the part of Marlon the Gator!)
One of Tiana’s specialties is beignets. Beignets are popularly served in New Orleans at breakfast or as a snack with powdered sugar on top. Beignets were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists and became a large part of Cajun or Creole cooking.
If you go to New Orleans, you must go to Café du Monde to try their beignets with powdered sugar and a cup of their chicory coffee served café au lait style. In fact, beignets are so popular in Louisiana, that they were made the official state donut.
Make Tiana’s beignets at home for Mardi Gras
With Mardi Gras coming up, why not watch Disney's Princess and the Frog via a streaming rental on Amazon? If you hurry, you can order a used copy of the companion cookbook, The Princess and the Frog: Tiana’s Cookbook. It contains Tiana’s recipe for New Orleans beignets and other fun recipes like Swamp-Water Smoothies and Banana French Toast.
Since beignets are hard to find unless you have a Cajun restaurant in your town, you may want to try making beignets at home – and Mardi Gras is just the time to do it. After enjoying your homemade beignets, put on some Louis Armstrong music and dance around with the kids to work off those calories!
Tiana’s Famous Beignets
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups of the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk everything together.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture from Step 1.
- Use some of the remaining flour to dust your work surface. Place the dough on it and pat it into a large 1/2 -inch-thick square. Dust the top with more flour if it gets sticky. Next, slice the dough into 2 1/2 -inch squares.
- Now it’s time to fry the beignets—be sure to ask an adult to help you! Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy saucepan on the stove top until the temperature reaches 325° on a deep fat thermometer. Check the temperature with a cooking thermometer every so often while cooking. If it gets too hot, temporarily turn the heat down, or off.
- Carefully drop 3 dough squares at a time into the hot oil. Fry them for 3 minutes, turn them over, and continue frying for 3 more minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beignets to a wire rack set atop paper towels to drain. Dust the beignets with confectioners’ sugar, and enjoy!
- Serving size: 1 beignet
Recipe and pictures used with permission. Originally published on March 26, 2010. Updated with new pictures.