Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking – Beignets
Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking
1421 W MacArthur Blvd · Santa Ana, CA 92704
Beignets are a reflection of what modern life is like for many people. A uniform shape that looks almost similar to one another. Golden tanned face, with minimal grease or oil. A bit of powder on the surface to lighten and spruce things up. Lovely sweet notes within. But inside these beautiful delights, underneath the thin skin, is an empty space. Lonely and desolate in the interior, there is an airy void left among the soft insides. A joyful, fun appearance projecting outwards hides the forlorn space within. So is the beignet at Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking. So is life.
An order of beignets at Ritter’s yields a lucky three count with a side of chocolate mousse. The beignets come out piping hot, straight from the fryer. Puffed up beautifully like a newly fluffed pillow, each golden piece holds their form really well. A fresh, fine sifting of powdered sugar coats the top.
The interior is as hollow as a tunnel; an empty cavern an inch wide opens up inside upon biting into these yeast pastries, the hood raising up from the base like the trunk of a car opening upwards. The airy gap separates the crunchy top from the soft bottom, which has a consistency akin to a standard doughnut. It is the crisp lining that really makes the fritters shine. As thin as it is, the crunchy exterior is what separates these fried confections from typical doughnuts – a delightful crunch that makes you yearn for more.
Mousse is a unique addition to this plate of pastries. The silky, airy whipped cream topping adds a cool, smooth touch to the hot fried dough. It dissipates almost instantaneously on your tongue; texturally, the mousse is akin to those whipped yogurts you find at the market. The chocolate enhances the beignets by supplying a different flavor. A nice twist on things, but not necessary.
It is hard for any beignets to live up to those at the iconic Café du Monde in New Orleans. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of traveling to the Big Easy, all the locals will point you to this world famous café in the French Quarter. Their flawless beignets have massive crunch all around and a generous dredging of powdered sugar that showers each piece like an abode snowed in on a winter day. Each piece has a doughy, webbed interior that fills up the inside cavity, with smaller air pockets. By contrast, Ritter’s beignets have an airy nook with a thin seam and a more moderate dusting of sugar.
An order of Ritter’s dessert beignets sets you back six dollars, making each piece with a dab of choco mousse roughly two a pop. That’s an okay deal for these fluff packs. All in all, the beignets are decent. But it makes you wanting more. More crunch. More powdered sugar. More beignets. If there’s still room to eat after finishing one of the hefty meals at Ritter’s, the beignets are a good sweet ending to your dining experience and a bittersweet taste of life.