Who is Celebrating Mardi Gras?!

Posted on February 19th, 2012

Anybody planning to celebrate Mardi Gras this Tuesday? It doesn't seem to be quite as big a deal here in Watertown, WI as it is in New Orleans, but I'm sure there will be plenty of people out and about wearing crazy beads!

I'll be celebrating by making King Cake. King Cake is a traditional dessert served at parties for Mardi Gras. It involves inserting a small plastic baby into the cake, and whoever finds the baby in their slice (here's where it gets tricky because I've heard 3 different explanations for this tradition) is crowned King or Queen of the party; has to host the next party; or will have good luck- whichever one you feel like going with. :)

Here's a recipe to make this deliciously fun dessert for Fat Tuesday! This recipe makes 2 cakes serving 8 people each. If you decide to use the plastic baby, don't forget to tell your guests to watch out for it in their piece!

Ingredients:

Pastry:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 (.25 oz) packages active yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tabelspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted butter

Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:


1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of 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.

2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the 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 knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

5 .To Make Filling: Combine the 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.

6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the 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 prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

7.Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and vanilla. If desired, sprinkle the icing with colored sugar sprinkles (purple, gold, and green are the Mardi Gras colors!) while the icing is still wet.

Enjoy!




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