Last night, our library hosted a free showing of The Princess and the Frog. We hadn't seen it yet, so it seemed like the perfect Saturday "Family Night" activity!
The children were encouraged to dress up like princesses and princes (there were a lot of cute Cinderellas there!) We went minimalist, ourselves: Junie B. wore a headband decorated with gold beads and a couple Mardi Gras necklaces; Taz wore a foil-covered crown (with a little frog sticker as the crown jewel!), and Sunny-boy wore a frog headband (modeled after my favorite amphibian, of Frog and Toad fame).
Frog-shaped cookies were served, and the children camped out on blankets on the library floor. It was a lot of fun! I must say, the movie itself was absolutely wonderful -- everything a Fairy Tale should be. And the music is great, too!
My favorite movie reviewer, Steven Greydanus, cautioned that because the Bayou voodoo lady is portrayed as a good figure, there is confusion between good and evil; but for once I must say I don't agree. The evil guy in this movie is truly and obviously evil -- and totally gets his comeuppance -- and the the Bayou voodoo lady never consorts with evil spirits as far as I could see. Certainly not in any obvious way that would lead children astray, any more than say, Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. Eccentric, yes; evil, no. "Spells" are a part of Fairy Tales, and I'm good with that -- especially since pretty much all she does is stir up a pot of gumbo and then tell the travelers how to break the spell that binds them. That's my take, anyway. (He does say that she practices a form of divination during her big number, but it went right over my head -- I never saw it. Perhaps a second viewing would make me less comfortable?) I almost didn't allow the kids to see this movie because of that review, but I think it would've been our loss.
Tiana, the movie's "Princess," makes a mean New Orleans Beignet ... so, naturally, I thought it would be fun to try to whip some up for breakfast this morning! Beignets are a kind of fried dough, usually made from a yeast dough that is rolled out and cut into square shapes before frying; but I found a quicker, no-yeast recipe online and went with that instead.
I can't vouch for their authenticity, of course, but they were good! The dough is made from water, butter, flour, salt and eggs, and of course,they're liberally doused with sifted confectioner's sugar.
In the movie, Tiana drizzles something that looks like honey over the beignets just before sprinkling on the sugar; I couldn't find a recipe that made them that way, but it looked good to me, so that's what we did! The results were almost like a cream puff: crispy on the outside; light, moist and airy on the inside, and very flavorful, even without the sugar.
- 1/2 c butter
- 1 c water
- 1 c flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 4 eggs
- vegetable oil for frying
- honey for drizzling
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
Place the butter and water in a saucepan over medium heat, until the butter melts. Sift the flour and salt together in a separate bowl, then add to the saucepan all at once, beating well. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a sticky dough forms into a ball in the center of the pan. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated (it takes some doing, so don't give up!)
Pour at least 1/2" of oil into a frying pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Drop the dough carefully into the hot oil in small batches, about a tablespoonful each, at least 2" apart. Keep turning them as they cook, for about 6-8 minutes, until deep, golden brown. (Don't let the oil get too hot, or the outsides will burn before the inside is cooked). Drain on paper towels.
Place the beignets on a serving plate while still hot; drizzle over all with honey, then dust liberally with confectioner's sugar tapped over all from a sifter or sieve. Serve immediately. Makes about 16 beignets.