The only double D’s we want to see during Mardi Gras: Drinks and dessert.
March 4th is Fat Tuesday, which, historically, is a day for Catholics to indulge in absolutely everything that’s bad for them before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and they give up meat, sweets and other vices until Easter. But — as is to be expected with holidays involving fried food and booze — even those who don’t celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday have joined in on the eating.
There may be massive parades and celebrations happening around the world today, but we all know the best parts of Fat Tuesday are, in no particular order: freshly fried beignets, a round of strong hurricanes and a slice (or two) of King’s Cake, a flaky dessert made with ground almonds and puff pastry dough.
Indulge in all three tonight with these easy recipes for punch and beignets from myrecipes.com, plus a decadent King’s Cake recipe from actor Gilles Marini. Only one rule: No counting calories!
Hurricane Punch (pictured above)
32 oz. red fruit punch
6 oz. frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1⅔ cups light rum
1⅔ cups dark rum
Orange slice, for optional garnish
Cherry, for optional garnish
Stir together all ingredients and serve over ice. If desired, garnish with orange slice and cherry.
New Orleans Beignets
Makes 6 dozen
1 (¼-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water (105° to 115°), divided
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup shortening
6½-7 cups bread flour
Sifted powdered sugar
1. In bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixerombine yeast, ½ cup warm water and 1 tsp. granulated sugar; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs, salt and remaining granulated sugar.
2. Microwave remaining 1 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed, gradually adding 4 cups flour, until smooth. Gradually add remaining 2½-3 cups flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and chill 4-24 hours.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into 2½-inch squares.
4. Pour oil into a Dutch oven to depth of 2-3 inches; heat to 360°. Fry dough, in batches, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with powdered sugar.
Gilles Marini’s Almond Gallette (King Cake)
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
½ cup ground almonds
1 pkg. puff pastry dough
1 large egg, beaten
1. To prepare the almond filling, cream butter and sugar lightly, add egg in portions and finally add flour and ground almonds.
2. To prepare the crust: Using a generous dusting of flour on the counter and on a rolling pin, roll out one sheet of puff pastry dough into an 11-inch square.
3. Using a 10-inch pie pan turned upside down as your guide, cut a circle out of the dough with the tip of a knife. Refrigerate the sheet. Repeat with second sheet.
4. Place the first round sheet on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and pour frangipane filling in the center, leaving a 1 ½-inch margin for the edge and lightly brush edge with beaten egg. Place a bean, or a toy, in the filling. Place the second sheet of dough on top of the first and press the edges firmly to seal in the filling.
5. Lightly brush the top of the gallette with more of the beaten egg. Use a knife, make decorative crisscross patterns on the top sheet and a few small slits so that steam can vent while baking. Bake for 15 minutes at 425º F in a preheated oven. Avoid opening the oven while baking as the pastry may not fully puff.
6. Remove gallette from the oven and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Return to the oven for 12 to 15 more minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let cool before serving.