Kirsti and I are planning a trip to New Orleans in the fall. It’s been 16 years since my last visit, so there are many things I want to see and do, but one of my first stops will be Café du Monde for a cup of chicory coffee and some fresh, hot beignets. While most Americans associate these deep-fried, pillowy sweets with Creole cuisine (they are the official state doughnut of Louisiana), there is another type of beignet that is more commonly found in Europe. These French boules, similar to Berliner donuts, are made from yeast pastry and are typically filled with jam or fruit.
I’d been seeing containers of Authentic French Mini-Beignets at my local Sprouts market for a while, but kept passing them by, thinking that pre-packaged donuts wouldn’t be worth the money (or the calories). Then one day, on impulse, I bought a tray of the Mixed Berries variety and it was amour at first bite. Light and airy with a generous filling of smooth fruit jam, these bite-sized beignets are dusted with superfine powdered sugar that instantly—and pleasantly—dissolves on the tongue. About the size of an egg, just a couple of the petite treats can satisfy a sugar craving and serve as a light breakfast or sweet accompaniment to afternoon tea.
There are only two drawbacks to these pint-sized pastries. While they are made in France by Les Délices des 7 Vallées and also come with Apple, Apricot, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Hazelnut Chocolate, Salted Butter Caramel, and Strawberry fillings, it appears that only the Mixed Berries (Red Fruits) and Hazelnut Chocolate versions are imported to America. And, while there are eight beignets in each container, four of them are plain. Plain! As in complain, because I feel the same way about plain donuts as I feel about whipped cream frosting (treachery!). Fortunately, this situation is easily remedied with a dollop of jam or Nutella, but it’s not quite as satisfying as discovering a hidden treasure within.
I have been unable to find these mini beignets for sale online and haven’t seen them anywhere but Sprouts, so you may have to do some sleuthing if you want to indulge. But if you have the bonne chance to discover these diminutive donuts, stock up or they’ll have been and gone in no time.
Stuff Worthy Of Our Notice™ in this post:
Les Délices des 7 Vallées mini beignets are imported by EuroClassic Imports. To locate a retailer in your area, contact the company.
I went to Sprouts the other day and saw this unfamiliar packaging in the spot where I usually find the Les Délices des 7 Vallées beignets. Upon closer inspection, I saw that this product is also imported by EuroClassic Imports and figured that the company must have simply changed the label…until I realized that it only mentioned Mixed Berry and said nothing about Plain. Could it be? Oui! They heard the people sing, “Red: the fruits of tasty bread!” and responded with a full container of eight berry-filled donuts. Now we are misérables no more. Vive la révolution!
The other day, I found myself in the bakery section at Sprouts (how did that happen?) and spied this seasonal twist on my beloved beignets. Orange you glad I keep a lookout for these things? My friend Mika, a pastry chef who has lived in France, declares these donuts to be “délicieux!” You’ll lose your gourd for the sweet pumpkin filling, but they’ll only be available for a limited time, so fall for these petite pastries before they say, “Au revoir!” until next year.