As a fan of fast food and a fan of dessert, I have long been distressed by the state of fast food dessert. But I bring good news, brothers and sisters. These dark days are over. Now we have Popeyes beignets.
Well, we have them for now. The Popeyes strategy around dessert is to keep things moving. They have just one fixed item on the dessert menu (cinnamon-apple pie) but almost always have some kind of limited-time offering.
It’s often just a different kind of pie, but this is something much more. For one, it fits thematically more than any dessert could. That wouldn’t mean much, though, if it didn’t taste damn good.
There are many restaurants that serve beignets, but really there is one authority on them — Cafe du Monde. The delicious treats there set the standard in the beignet space.
They delight by combining the perfect crispiness on the exterior with the comforting warmth of the interior and lots and lots of powdered sugar.
Popeyes, of course, brings the powdered sugar but otherwise smartly doesn’t attempt to compete. They’re just not aiming for the same level of crisp. The experience is pillowy all the way through.
Given the brick-like consistency of most fast-food fried desserts, I applaud their decision to keep it on the soft side. McDonald’s probably thinks they’re aiming for appropriate crisp on their apple pies, but eating those things is like chewing rocks.
Another deviation from the classic formula: Popeyes is adding an ingredient. These beignets have a chocolate center (there's a partnership with Hershey’s), and this is where the item really sings.
It’s another reason it’s fine the dough shrugs off the normal crispy aspirations: It’s just a chocolate center delivery device anyway. The middle is smooth and bright. Imagine the chocolate component of a perfectly cooked s’more, but there’s a whole much of it nestled in a flaky crust. I’ve never tasted flavor on this level from another item in the category.
If you really love these (or anything covered with powdered sugar), Popeyes now has a sweatshirt to make you look like you didn't actually just inhale a dozen of them in the driver's seat of your car.
You could call these beignets bite-sized if you are — as I am — willing to take enormous bites. These come in sets of three ($1.99), six ($3.99) and 12 ($7.59).
I opted for six and immediately regretted it. I’m eating at Popeyes. It’s not like my heart health is going to be strong under any circumstances.
For this limited time, we have the perfect end to a chicken sandwich meal. Might as well live it up while we can.
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