Pate a choux pastry is used to make all sorts of dessert deliciousness. Churros, éclairs, profiteroles, and even towering croquembouches are made from choux pastry. Beignets can also be made from choux but isn’t often used in the South; most chefs make the chewier, rolled yeast variety of beignets like they serve at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. I prefer a fluffy choux beignet which have been made famousby my buddy Panini Pete. If you make it to his place in Fairhope or Mobile, Alabama, you'll see an early morning line forming for Pete's beignets. They taste more like a hot doughnut and are delicious fried dough heaven. Sprinkled with Confectioners’ sugar while they are hot. Serve with a squeeze of lemon. These won’t hold well once your squeeze the lemon over them but then again, they’ll go so fast you won’t have to worry about that.


Prep Time: 12 minutes   Cook Time: 7-8 minutes per batch


1 ½ cups water

6 ounces unsalted butter

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

6 eggs, room temperature

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Canola oil for frying

Food thermometer

Confectioners’ sugar and lemon wedges for garnish


Put canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and bring it to 350 degrees F.

Mix the salt into the flour.  

Put the water and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour all at one time to combine and form dough which will pull away from the side of the pan. Switch to a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, two at a time, blending well with the wooden spoon between each addition. Beat the dough with the wooden spoon until it goes from ‘slippery’ and glossy to matte.  Add the vanilla and stir to incorporate.

Scoop the dough with a small ice cream scoop and place in the hot oil. Take care not to over crowd the pot or the temperature of the oil will drop and your beignets will soak up oil. Fry for 7-8 minutes, turning the beignets around frequently in the oil. Drain on paper toweling.

Serve warm with a dusting of Confectioners’ sugar and lemon, lime, or orange wedges.

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Soufflés always intimidate, but they are not difficult. These individual chocolate soufflés are fluffy, delightful bites of chocolate heaven. And so easy! They will be a favorite... serve them warm out of the oven with just a drizzle of heavy cream... or ice cream, or whiskey sauce, or whatever you have around.

recipe for individual chocolate souffles Martie Duncan


Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon cocoa

1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the ramekins

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

6 large egg whites, room temperature

1/16 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter four oven-proof ramekins. Combine the cocoa and 2 tablespoons sugar. Dust the ramekins with the cocoa and sugar mixture. Set aside.

Carefully melt the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl over simmering water. Chocolate burns quickly so don't leave it unattended. Stir until just melted then remove the chocolate from the heat. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, gently whisking them together with the chocolate. Set aside.  

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt on medium speed until they are shiny and form soft peaks. Then turn the mixer on high and add the sugar, a little at a time until the egg whites will hold stiff shiny peaks.

Next, begin to incorporate the egg whites into the chocolate. This is an important step. You do not want to deflate the egg whites, but you do need to make sure there are no visible whites peeking through. Use a large spoon, spatula, or whisk; work gently. Add about a cup of the egg whites to the chocolate to smooth out the chocolate a bit. Then add the rest, 1/3 at a time, spooning up and over, very gently, to incorporate. It should be very light and fluffy, but make sure you have no threads of white peeking through the chocolate.

Spoon into the prepared ramekins- leaving about 1/2 inch at the top. Bake for 15 minutes or you can bake up to 18 minutes to make them more cake-like.

You can let these sit for up to 30 minutes before baking or you can bake them immediately. Makes 4.

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