Mes Bugnes Lyonnaises

Today is the Inter­na­tional Women’s Day. It’s also Mardi Gras. Let’s cel­e­brate Les Bugnes and women’s Chefs!

On that day, my grand­mother used to make the most fab­u­lous bugnes! Although she was born in Alge­ria in 1906 and could also bake the most mouth-watering cornes de gazelles, she came to Lyon dur­ing the 50s and learned to cook the best recipes from Lyon.

I remem­ber her in her tiny tra­di­tional and very basic kitchen in Lyon, prepar­ing dur­ing whole after­noons, these deli­cious pas­tries. I can still smell the rhum, or some­times the orange blos­som water she would use, relate with the excite­ment, flow and focus I could feel around the whole prepa­ra­tion. Cook­ing with my grand-mother was almost a reli­gious expe­ri­ence! Mys­ti­cal! Mix­ing pagan­ism, sen­su­al­ity with reli­giousity! I’m proud to say that I can almost repro­duce the same taste, if not the same tex­ture. I still do not know how my grand mother, “mamie”, cre­ated such fine, thin, light and crisp pas­tries. Prac­tise will make excellence!

Bugnes dates back from the 16th cen­tury, here’s my 21rst cen­tury recipe!

What you need!

4 cups of Flour

1/2 table­spoon bak­ing powder

4 eggs

1/2 pound unsalted but­ter, melted

1 table spoon rhum (rum?)

The grated zest of  one lemon, un zeste de citron…

…and a tiny bit of sugar! (plenty of icing sugar afterwards!)

  • In a mix­ing bowl, com­bine the flour and sugar. Add the bak­ing pow­der and stir until well mixed. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the soft­ened but­ter, lemon zest and rum and work them into the other ingre­di­ents with your fin­gers until a smooth dough forms. The smell of the lemon’s zest with the rum is irresistible!
  • On a slightly floured sur­face, roll the “pâte” (pas­try) out until it is quite thin.
  • Using a spe­cial pas­try wheel, cut the dough into “ban­delettes”, approx­i­ma­tively 4 by 2-inch rec­tan­gles. I like to give them all kinds of shapes, actually!
  • When the oil is hot enough , add the dough a few pieces at a time.

  • As soon as the bugnes rise to the sur­face and are lightly browned all over, remove them with a slot­ted spoon and place on paper tow­els to drain.

Sprin­kle with “sucre glace”( pow­dered sugar) while still warm, and serve.

Et voilà! régalez-vous! C’est Mardi-Gras!

If you want to know more about the orig­ine of Les Bugnes:

If you were to trace the old­est ref­er­ence of the word “bugne” you would find this word in the city of Lyon, France in 1538. The word “bugne” comes from the old French word “buigne” now “bosse” (hump) which is also the ori­gin of the word “beignet” which includes all fried-dough pas­try kinds.

We found the word “bugne” among some the items of the list of foods pur­chased for a ban­quet in the honor of Rabelais (Major Renais­sance French Writer and doc­tor) in 1538 at the Hôtel-Dieu de Notre Dame de la Pitié du Pont-du-Rhône in Lyon. Bugnes were among other “spé­cial­ités Lyon­naises” pur­chased that day, such as cerve­las, mac­aron and saucissons.

The bugne was born to enable the peo­ple from Lyon to make a lit­tle fun dur­ing the sea­son of Lent or Fast, (carême) in French. In the last cen­tury, from Ash Wednes­day until Palm Sun­day, peo­ple had to do what is called “tighten the belt” mean­ing eat­ing lean. This was hard times for the peo­ple of Lyon who had to be con­tent with a sin­gle meal at noon and just a snack in the evening where eggs, meat, fish milk or but­ter were forbidden.

Some “Lyon­naises” moth­ers had had enough and decided to mix some flour, yeast or grain that they had diluted in water and fried in oil. Bugnes were born!” From Squidoo

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