Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

I must confess. I have never baked a King Cake, but I do eat them and they are delicious.

My friend Danno at NolaCuisine.com has graciously allowed me to post his King Cake recipe here for your enjoyment. Thanks for sharing, Dan! BTW, visit his site when you get the chance. There you will find an awesome display of great New Orleans style dishes to soothe the soul.

King Cake Recipe

For the Brioche:

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp warm water (115 degree F)
  • 1 tsp iodized salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp orange zest, minced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into very small dice
  • 1 egg beaten and 2 Tbsp water, for the egg wash
  • 1 plastic baby trinket

Dissolve the yeast in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, let stand until frothy. Dissolve the salt, sugar, orange zest and milk in a small bowl. When dissolved combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Mix the cinnamon with the flour.

With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, then gradually add the flour, until all is incorporated. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough is formed. A little more flour may be necessary. With the motor running, incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time but rather quickly so that it doesn’t heat up and melt.

Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot. When the dough has doubled in bulk punch it down, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough out to a 6 x 18 inch rectangle. Spread the Pecan filling (recipe below) out in the middle of the rectangle along the whole length, leaving about 1 1/2 inch on each side. Place the baby trinket somewhere with the filling. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly, leaving the seam side down. Turn the roll into a circle, seam side down and put one end inside of the other to hide the seam, and seal the circle. Place the cake on a baking sheet and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Brush all over with the egg wash, then place the king cake into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

When the cake cools, brush with some of the glaze (recipe below) thinned out with more cold water. This will help the sugars adhere. Decorate the cake with the colored sugars and drizzle some of the thicker glaze onto the cake.

Place on a large round serving plate and decorate with Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and whatever else that you like.

For the Pecan filling:

  • 1 cup pecan halves, broken up slightly and roasted until fragrant
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbsp Steen’s Cane Syrup

Combine all of the ingredients together.

For the glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp bourbon
water (enough to make a paste that can be drizzled)

Combine the sugar and bourbon, whisk in enough water to make a glaze that can be drizzled.

Happy Mardi Gras ! ... Ahheee!!
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Gateau de Roi - The King's Cake Story

This is an excerpt from "Mr. Lake's New Orleans Forum":

Gateau de Roi

Twelfth Night or King Cake

The story of the king cake begins, like the story of Mardi Gras itself, with the pagans. They had a celebration where a young man from the village was chosen to be treated like a king for a whole year. He was not denied during his reign, but after the year was over he became a human sacrifice to the gods. To eliminate this pagan custom, the Christian Church encouraged an observance calling for the preparation of a king cake containing a bean; whoever received the slice with the bean became king for a week and was allowed to choose a queen to reign with him. This took the place of the sacrificial pagan rite.

The King Cake tradition is believed to have been brought to New Orleans, Louisiana, from France in the 1870's. It evolved from the Twelfth Night or Epiphany pastry made by those early settlers. They added their own touches with the Spanish custom of choosing Twelfth Night royalty.

In European countries, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. The celebration, called Epiphany, Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night, is a time of exchanging gifts and feasting. All over the world people gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. One of the most popular customs is still the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings..."A King's Cake" or Gateau de Roi.

A King Cake's ring shape, too, is significant, as some believe it symbolizes the unity of all Christians, and others believe it aptly resembles a king's crown.

A dried bean was originally hidden inside the cake but was replaced by coins, peas, pecans, rubber dolls, porcelain dolls, and in recent years plastic dolls. Starting around the 1930s, a tiny naked baby (Frozen Charlotte) was used instead of the bean or pea. The baby can be pink, brown, or golden. Some people believe that the baby represents the baby Jesus because Twelfth Night was when the three kings found the baby in Bethlehem.

Tradition has it that the person who finds the baby in the king cake is the next queen or king, he or she receives a year of good luck, is treated as royalty for that day and must host the next king cake party.

King Cake season lasts throughout Mardi Gras from the feast of the Epiphany until Mardi Gras Day.

The royal colors of purple, green and gold on the cake honors the three kings, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, who visited the Christ child on the Epiphany. Purple represents Justice. Green stands for Faith. Gold signifies Power.

The three colors appeared in 1872 on a Krewe of Rex carnival flag especially designed for the visiting Grand Duke of Russia. He came to New Orleans just for the carnival, and the universal colors remain his legacy.

You can visit Mr. Lake's New Orlean's Forum for more outstanding King Cake recipes (including a Mexican King Cake). Thanks Frank!


Special Note: I couldn't help but notice that the first of the Three Kings was named "Gaspar". Seems as though someone may have forgotten to add the letter "d" at the end of his name.

Ahheee!! Laisser le bon temps rouller!
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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Gaspard's Cajun Potato Salad

This is a Real Cajun Cooking - Pure and Simple original recipe which makes 12 - 15 servings and takes less than an hour to prepare. Yummy!

Ingredients
Gaspard's Cajun Potato Salad

  • 5 lbs. Russet potatoes, boiled
  • 5 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 3 Tbs. dill relish
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika

Instructions

  1. peel, dice, boil and drain the potatoes then set aside
  2. boil, peel and finely chop eggs in a food chopper
  3. finely chop 1 medium white onion
  4. slice each stalk of celery in 4s (lengthwise) and finely chop
  5. chop green onions
  6. add chopped eggs, onions, bell pepper, celery, green onions, relish, mayo, mustard, cayenne pepper, salt and ground black pepper in a bowl and mix together thoroughly.
  7. in a larger bowl add everything together (except the paprika) then toss and mix well until all of the bits of potatoes are thoroughly coated. Try not to mash the potatoes in the process.
  8. level-off the salad and sprinkle paprika on top to add color
  9. set the salad in the refrigerator to cool before serving.
  10. makes 12 – 15 servings

Note: Do not use a blender to chopped your vegetables because it will cause your salad to lose the crunchiness. It is important to take your time to properly chop the onions, bell pepper and celery by hand to produce the perfect potato salad. The chopped pieces should be about the size of a pencil eraser. And, for a bit of extra color and eye-appeal you may want to add a few sprigs of parsley on top for good measure.

Enjoy! Ahheee!!


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