Pork Fat Beignets with Bourbon Caramel

John Currence

serves 6 to 8


Though dessert beignets could absolutely not be any more New Orleans, you rarely catch them on anyone's menu in the city. Considering the line that builds up almost every night at Cafe Du Monde (it's the only item on their menu), you'd think they'd be on every menu around. This is a simple twist on that classic. The pork fat adds a little depth of flavor, and the cayenne helps cut through a little of the richness.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 1/2 cups water (100-105)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 7 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 4 tbsp lard
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • oil for deep drying
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar


To make the caramel: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 3 tbsp water over medium heat. Swirl the sugar as it begins to boil (do not stir it). Continue swirling the sufar until it begins to change color. As it approaches a medium amber color, remove from the heat and whisk it the cream. Be careful: This mixture will bubble up furiously at first, but it will settle. Whisk in the butter, salt, and bourbon. Set aside.

To make the beignets: Mix the water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes, or until it foams.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt, cream, and milk together. Mix the egg mixture into the yeast mixture.

Add 3 cups of the flour and the cayenne to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the lard and butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining 4 cups of flour. Remove the dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth. Lightly rub a large bowl with vegetable oil. Put the dough into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Preheat 2 1/2 inches of oil in a deep fryer to 350F. Roll the dough out to about a 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1 inch squares. Carefully place a few pieces of the dough in the deep fryer at a time, tipping constantly and frying until they turn golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Serve immediately, dusted heavily with confectioners' sugar and drizzled with the caramel.