Friday, January 8, 2010

Recipe Fridays!

King Cake

King Cake season has begun; the 6th of January, Twelfth Night, King Day, or the Feast of the Three Kings is the official start of the Mardi Gras season. Traditionally, a King Cake is eaten that day, and whoever finds the baby inside is responsible for doing something by Mardi Gras, usually throwing a party. I love King Cake, one of the traditions I have tried to keep up since I left New Orleans, and this is a pretty good recipe. Enjoy, and laissez les bon temps roulez!


Brioche Dough:

• 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 110 to 115 degrees
• 2 packages dry yeast
• 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups sifted flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
• 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
• 3 eggs
• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
• 1 dried bean, a coin, or tiny china baby doll

Vanilla Glaze:
• 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
• 2 teaspoons milk
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
• colored sugars, purple, yellow, and green
• candied cherries and other fruits for garnish, as desired


Soften yeast in water. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt in mixing bowl. Stir in lemon peel. Make a well in center and pour into it the yeast mixture and milk. Add eggs and egg yolks, and with a large wooden spoon gradually incorporate dry ingredients into liquid ones.

Beat in butter and continue beating until dough forms ball. (Mixing of the dough can be done in a food processor.) Place ball on floured board and incorporate more flour if necessary, by sprinkling it over ball by the tablespoon. Knead until smooth and elastic. Brush inside of large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Set dough in bowl and turn it so as to butter entire surface. Cover bowl and set aside for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Brush a large baking sheet with remaining butter. Punch dough down on lightly floured surface. Knead, then pat and shape dough into a long roll about 14 inches long. Place on baking sheet and form into a circle. Press bean or doll into dough so that it is hidden. Set aside again to rise.

Bake King's Cake in middle of oven at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown wherever the cake shows through. Parts of the cake with sugar covering should look crusty. Slide cake onto wire rack to cool.

Vanilla Glaze: In a small mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar with 2 teaspoons milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir glaze until smooth; drizzle over cake. Sprinkle cake generously with the colored sugars then embed the candied fruit "jewels" in the King's "crown."

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