The Disney chefs love to tinker in the kitchen, and especially enjoy creating new tastes for guests with allergies.
One of our favorite new tastes is the gluten-free naan bread at Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge—you won’t find it on the menu, but when guests with gluten allergies ask to speak to the chef, it’s one of the options for Indian-style bread service (for those fabulous chutneys and sauces), open-faced naan sandwiches at lunch and the kid’s meal cheese pizza.
“Chef Jonathan Dove has a great passion for creating items to accommodate special diet needs, as his wife has a gluten allergy,” says Chef David Njorge. Creating a gluten-free naan became a priority, and Chef Jonathan worked with Chef Amanda Lauder to come up with their delicious version of the classic Indian flatbread.
“As culinary cast members, we leave our legacy daily in the way we interact with our guests and our fellow cast members, go above and beyond, and sprinkle pixie dust,” says Chef David.
A couple more new gluten-free menu items we’ve recently discovered: the angel food cake with seasonal fruit compote at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort (which is always on the menu, not a special order), and the hot beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. At Sassagoula they fry the beignets separately, so it’s a rare opportunity for guests with celiac disease or gluten allergies to have those hot, fresh little squares of fried dough.
And if you’re too far away for a hot order from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, here’s the recipe so you can try at home.
Makes 20 beignets
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (100°F)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gluten-free egg replacer
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 pound gluten-free pizza crust mix
- Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
For the beignets
- Combine warm water and yeast in a small bowl; set aside 5 minutes.
- Combine apple juice, applesauce, sugar, egg replacer, salt, oil, and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until well combined.
- Add pizza crust mix, 1/4 cup at a time, until soft dough forms (you will not use all of mix). Turn dough out onto a work surface dusted with remaining pizza crust mix. Knead until dough is no longer sticky but still soft.
- Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into 2×3-inch pieces. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Pour enough oil into a deep-sided pot until it reaches 2 inches up sides; heat oil over medium heat to 350°F.
- Lightly press beignets to flatten slightly.
- Add a few beignets to oil; fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once.
- Remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
- Dust with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar before serving.