Marvels are deep-fried pastries peculiar to the Lowcountry, like les oreilles de cochon of northwest Louisiana. Larousse Gastronomique offers a merveille recipe similar to these of 19th-century Charleston.


  • ¾ pound (about cups) unbleached (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • lard for frying
  • confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar for garnish


Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until it is incorporated evenly. Lightly beat the sugar into the eggs, then add the eggs to the flour mixture and blend well. If the mixture appears crumbly and dry, use your hands to press it all together, but do not knead it or the marvels will become tough. Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour.

After an hour, roll the dough out as thinly as possible and cut into various shapes with cookie or biscuit cutter. Fry in hot lard at 370° for 2 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on wire racks and dust with confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar. These are delicious for breakfast with café au lait.