The Daley Question
March 25, 2014
Q: In a column in your food section, written by Ruth Ellen Church, titled "Glorious desserts from New Orleans" ... During some of our flooding periods some of my recipes received a washing. I could not save all of them. However, half of this article was destroyed and I would appreciate if it is available to purchase that paper. Mainly interested in the "doughnuts."
—Antoinette Barloga, Elmhurst, Ill.
A: The recipe was included in a package of stories about New Orleans desserts published on May 3, 1973, by Ruth Ellen Church, the longtime Chicago Tribune food editor who often used the pen name of "Mary Meade." Among the recipes were beignets, which she described as "those special doughnuts."
"Beignets are the unusual fried cakes that New Orleans visitors love to munch with coffee at the end of the night of visiting Preservation Hall and other popular spots where jazz is heard,'' Church wrote. "The recipe given here should make a delicacy superior to the ones served in the most patronized hangout of all. I found them lead-heavy, almost inedible, but everyone else was eating them with apparent relish."
Church does not disclose which hangout that was. She recommends serving her beignets warm "with spiced or flavored coffees – perhaps one of the new flavored instant coffees, like orange-spice, chocolate or anisette."
I have not re-tested Church's recipe. Let me know how it has held up.
New Orleans Beignets
Makes: Two dozen
A recipe from a May 3, 1973, Chicago Tribune story by Ruth Ellen Church titled: "Cajun, creole cooking make up the cuisine of New Orleans."
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup each: warm water, milk
2 tablespoons each butter, shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 1/4 cups flour (about)
Shortening for deep frying
Dissolve yeast in warm water (105 to 115 degrees). Scald milk; add butter and shortening. Stir until melted. Cool to lukewarm. Add sugar, salt, egg and yeast; mix well. Gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto lightly-floured board; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about1 hour. Punch down; let rise again for 30 minutes. Roll out on lightly-floured board to a 15-inch square. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares. Place on baking sheet; cover and let rise until light, about 1 hour. Do not handle while squares are rising. Fry in deep fat at 375 degrees for 2 minutes, or until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with sifted confectioner's sugar.
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