Recipe: Blue Cheese Beignets from Orchids at Palm Court Chef Todd Kelly


Traditionally, a beignet is deep-fried dough covered with powdered sugar and served as a dessert. In this savory application, I fill it with rich blue cheese and serve it with bitter greens, almond brittle, and spiced honey harvested from our rooftop beehive.

Blue cheese beignets with local honey, frisée, belgian endive, and almond brittle

5 ounces milk

2 1/4 ounces unsalted butter

4 ounces all-purpose flour

4 eggs

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

4 ounces blue cheese

Kosher salt, to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying


Red wine vinaigrette

1 chopped shallot

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


Almond brittle

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup sliced almonds


Spiced honey

1/2 ounce black pepper

3 cardamom pods

6 spice berries

2 cloves

3/4 ounce cumin

1/4 ounce fennel seeds

4 ounces local honey

1 1/2 ounces banyuls vinegar

1 head belgian endive

1 head radicchio

1 head frisée

2 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste




For the blue cheese beignets: in a small sauce pot, warm the milk and butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook over low heat until the mixture begins to stick to the sides of the pot.

Transfer to a stand-up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat the dough for 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the thyme and blue cheese. Season with salt and set aside.


For the red wine vinaigrette: purée the shallots, dijon mustard, and vinegar in a blender. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


For the almond brittle: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Fold in the nuts. Divide the mixture into a series of quarter-sized pieces and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.


For the spiced honey: toast the spices in a sauté pan, add the honey, and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature and add the banyuls vinegar. Strain and set aside.

To complete: pour vegetable oil into a large, heavy pot or a deep-fryer and heat to 325 degrees. Use an ice cream scoop to plunge the beignet batter into the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Toss the lettuces with blue cheese and red wine vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.


To serve: drizzle the spiced honey on the bottom of each salad plate. Place the beignets on top. Garnish with mixed lettuce and a piece of the almond brittle.

Makes 6 servings

Pick up Kelly’s cookbook at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. Read our preview here.

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