Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Gras and a King Cake

This is what happens when two amazing things like Super Bowl and Mardi Gras collide.


The other half and I took a little weekend trip to New Orleans last weekend and were inspired to add a little Mardi Gras flair to our Super Bowl party. He's making homemade gumbo with shrimp and andouille sausage, and I decided on a classic king cake with a twist.


It was my first time in New Orleans and I loved it. I have to admit, I didn't have high hopes for it. From what I had heard it was just a trashy, dirty city that smells bad, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The city has cleaning up after the festivities pretty much down to an art, and when they are done it actually smells quite nice. We stayed off of Canal St across the street from Harrah's.  We did spend some time in the casino but took plenty of time to explore the city and walk around the streets. The city has an old charm about it. I love the old houses with balconies on every one, the small bars that invite you in from the street, oh and the food. The food is amazing. The city had such a great buzz about it. All the major networks were already set up for broadcasting from there for Super Bowl week, and we were able to see three different Mardi Gras parades, one at night, one during the day, and one for dogs actually. Did I mention the food? We had shrimp and grits, gumbo, ettouffe, poboys, alligator sausage, boudin, and of course some beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde. So A-mazing!

I chose this particular recipe for the cake because it uses bread flour which gives it a less dense texture, and for the technique of making the dough in the food processor, it was super easy. The only thing you need to be aware of is that this has a lot of inactive prep time. Because it is made with a yeast dough it has a lot of rising and kneading, and rising, and rolling out, and rising again. So make sure you are giving yourself enough time to make this. I made my filling using an ingredient I picked up in New Orleans. The other half and I stopped into a shop, the Pepper Palace, where he had picked up a few things for me last time he was there. You may have seen them used in previous post, cherry butter in the Cherry Butter Cheesecake, and candied jalapenos in the Candied Jalapeno Brownies. For this visit I picked out a jar of peach butter.


King Cake with Peach Butter Cream Cheese Filling

For the Cake
Ingredients:
1/3 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 large egg yolks, plus 2 eggs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the bowl

Directions:
1.  Heat the milk in a saucepan until scalding; transfer to a food processor, add the yeast and pulse to combine. 

2.  Add 1/2 cup flour and the egg yolks; process to combine. Pour the remaining 2 cups flour evenly over the yeast mixture; do not process. Put the lid on; set aside for 90 minutes.

3.  Add the 2 whole eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest, salt and nutmeg to the food processor; process to make a slightly textured dough, about 1 minute. 

4.  With the machine running, slowly add the butter to make a smooth, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. 

5.  Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead about 8 minutes; form into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover with a moist tea towel in a warm place to rise for another hour. Meanwhile make the filling.

For the Filling
Ingredients:
1 package (8oz) cream cheese
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 peach butter (from Pepper Palace in New Orleans)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Directions:
1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer beat cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth then scrape down the bowl. 

2.   Add peach butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and beat until incorporated. Then stir in pecans.

To Assemble the cake:
1.  On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20-by-7-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spoon the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and bottom. 

2.  Fold the bottom and then the top edge over the filling to make a tight roll; pinch to seal. 

3.  Transfer the roll seam-side down to a parchment-lined baking sheet; tuck one end into the other to form a ring. Cover loosely with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place until the roll doubles in size, about 2 hours. (I placed a coffee can in the middle of the cake so it would not lose its shape)

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake until firm and golden brown, about 30 minutes. When cake comes out carefully press the plastic baby into the underside of the cake. Cool on a rack.

For the Glaze
Ingredients:
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon  peach butter
1 tablespoon milk

Directions:
1.  Whisk together all ingredients and drizzle over cooled cake, then sprinkle green, purple, and yellow sugar over glaze.

This recipe adapted from the Food Network.

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