Don't worry if you can't make it to Cafe du Monde for their famous beignets—with a little bit of effort and a whole lot of powdered sugar, it's possible create your own at home. Ours are light and pillowy with a hint of yeasty flavor—just make sure to serve them immediately after taking them out of the fryer.
Quick King Cake
King cakes can be found throughout Catholic countries, but New Orleans is known for its brightly colored, ring shaped version (typically decorated in swaths of purple, green, and gold—the colors of Mardi Gras). The traditional recipe calls for a yeasted dough, but we cut down on some of the work by using frozen puff pastry and simply filling it with sweet and boozy ingredients (plus the requisite lucky trinket).
Bananas Foster Trifle
Bananas Foster was invented in 1951 at Brennan Restaurant in New Orleans, and some places still put on a show by igniting its rum-spiked sauce tableside. Although we keep the pyrotechnics in the kitchen here, your guests will nonetheless be stunned by its elaborate layers and towering height.
Bananas Foster Pie
For another take on bananas foster, you can pack it into this custardy pie, which is topped with whipped cream, caramel, and bruleed bananas.
Doberge cake may not have the same name recognition as New Orleans's other classic desserts, but it certainly wins in terms of sheer awe-inspiring bombast. No less than six layers of vanilla cake are separated by a half and half spread of lemon curd and chocolate pudding, then covered in lemon and chocolate frostings.
Pralines, right down to the local pronunciation (prah-leen), are a reminder of Louisianan culture's French roots. Although praline recipes, including ours, generally call for little more than butter, cream, sugar, and nuts, it's said that no two pralines in the French Quarter taste alike.
Roasted Banana Chocolate Pancakes
Pancakes are a popular Fat Tuesday treat. In fact, in some parts of the world, the holiday is known as Pancake Tuesday. This recipe makes them particularly New Orleans-appropriate with the addition of saucy bananas.
Easy Funnel Cake
Most of us probably associate funnel cakes with summertime state fairs, but they pop up during Mardi Gras as well, likely for the same cupboard-clearing, pre-Lent reasons as many other rich desserts. You'll definitely have the chance to use up plenty of oil for these deep-fried bad boys.
Banana pudding is popular throughout the south. New Orleans is especially associated with the dessert, however, because it used to be one of the main ports through which bananas entered the US. Our recipe stays pretty close to the version you're likely to find at family gatherings and celebrations.
Baked Beignets with Chicory Coffee Sauce
These oven-baked beignets might rile up beignet purists, but there's no reason to hate on them when they're made with love and good intentions in mind. Especially when those good intentions are accompanied by a side of chicory coffee-flavored chocolate sauce.
Chocolate Banana Cake with Chicory Glaze
We couldn't finish our list without including this snack cake that pays homage to New Orleans's love for chicory coffee and, of course, bananas. The fruit is pureed and mixed throughout the chocolately batter, while the coffee is made into a glaze that coats the top. Now we'll throw some beads for that!