It’s Mardi Gras, the last day of Carnival in European countries, the day before heading into the austere Lenten season. This generally means indulging one last time before swearing off the good stuff like sweets, alcohol, and meat. There are tons of fabulous Mardi Gras treats – many of them liquid – to be found around the world. We’re feature a few of our favorite Mardi Gras pastries.
For New Orleans fans, beignets are a staple of the Carnival season. These fried pieces of dough can be made with either a yeast dough or a pate a choux pastry dough. They are chewy, soft, and delicious!
My family’s favorite, this treat is made from frying strips of dough until they are crispy, then dusted with powdered sugar. They have 2 traditional shapes: a knot of tied dough, and a rectangle with slits cut into it, and sometimes with one end pulled through the center. These treats have different names depending on where you come from: crostoli, cenci, and chiacchiere are popular alternatives!
These are more similar to beignets, as they are a softer fried ball of dough than frappe, and are topped with sugar or powdered sugar. They can also be filled with chocolate, sweetened ricotta, or whipped cream. They are about the size of chestnuts (“castagne” in Italian), which is where they get their name.
This Italian treat another type of donut. Sometimes they are like Castagnole, but larger, more reminiscent of a cream puff (and often filled with custard, cream, ricotta, or jelly). Other times they are rings, like a traditional donut. They are always topped with sugar or powdered sugar. Traditionally part of the feast day of Saint Joseph (March 19), they are also popular Carnival treat.
Perhaps the ultimate indulgence, crepes are full of butter, flour, and egg. Whether savory or sweet, folded, stacked, or rolled, this French staple is a perfect way to celebrate the end of Carnival. Make a meal of it and have a savory version for dinner, and sweet for dessert! See our French recipe for crepes.
It’s not just the Belgians that devour waffles on Fat Tuesday, they are a staple across much of the continent and the US as well where Mardi Gras celebrations can be found. In case you’ve not caught on – a common theme to these Carnival treats is that of fried dough!
What is your favorite Mardi Gras indulgence? Do you plan to make it this year?
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