Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe
Ingredients: (makes two cakes)Pastry:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
5 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon water
Green, yellow, purple food coloring
Scald milk and remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture, whisk in the eggs, stir in remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 8 - 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl turning to coat dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down and divide dough in half.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Combine brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
(Cream cheese and/or fruit pie filling with the pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar also makes an excellent filling and is very popular in the New Orleans area)
Putting it all together:
Roll dough halves out into large rectangles approximately 10 x 16 inches. Sprinkle (or smear in the case of cream cheese) filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a the prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Frost while warm with the confectioner's sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and food dye. Also can be sprinkled with colored sugar if desired.
If you want to know more about the history of the King Cake, click here to read this short article.
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