Mardi Gras 2016: Recipes for New Orleans King Cake and more to celebrate the holiday

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By: Tori Fater
tfater@elkharttruth.com

Flickr Creative Commons/chuckyeager

Get a taste of traditional New Orleans fare this Mardi Gras with these recipes for King Cake, beignets and jambalaya.

KING CAKE

King Cake is a Mardi Gras staple, and this recipe from Epicurious is sure to please. Don’t forget to hide a toy baby inside the cake — whoever finds it has to do the baking next time. 

Ingredients

For cake:

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons. dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1 plastic toy baby

For icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Decorative sugar sprinkles (purple, green and gold)

Directions

  1. Pour the milk into a large bowl and add the granulated sugar, yeast and a heaping tablespoon of flour. Mix until sugar and yeast dissolve and bubbles develop on the surface of the milk.
  2. When the milk starts to foam, add butter, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and whisk until combined.
  3. Fold the remaining flour, cinnamon and nutmeg into the wet ingredients with a spatula. When the dough is combined and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, form it into a ball.
  4. Knead the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic — this will take at least eight minutes and possibly up to 15 minutes.
  5. Place the dough ball back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 1.5 hours or until the ball has doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. When the dough is done rising, punch it down and divide into three equal pieces, rolling each piece until you have three long ropes. Braid the pieces into a loaf and form that braid into a circle, sealing the circle by pinching the two ends of the braid together.
  8. On a nonstick cookie sheet, let the dough rise for about half an hour. When the dough’s size has doubled again, bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.
  9. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes and tuck the toy baby into the bottom of the cake.
  10. While the cake is cooling, whisk together powdered sugar, condensed milk and lemon juice in a bowl for the icing. Mix until the icing is smooth and spreads.
  11. Spread icing over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the decorative sugar over the cake in stripes, alternating purple, green and gold. New Orleans tourism officials say the purple stands for justice, the green stands for faith and the gold stands for power.

 

SAUSAGE AND SHRIMP JAMBALAYA

This low-calorie entree from AllRecipes can be ready to eat in less than 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound smoked andouille sausage
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (should be available at a deli, fresh or previously frozen)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large pot, then stir in the sausage. Cook for two minutes.
  2. Add Cajun seasoning, onion, bell pepper and celery, and salt to taste. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and stir until it’s coated in the vegetables, then add the tomatoes and juice, garlic, chicken broth, bay leaves and thyme leaves. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture is simmering, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let it simmer 20 minutes.
  4. When 20 minutes have passed, stir in the shrimp and cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered, until the shrimp are pink. According to seafood compnay SeaPak, shrimp should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees and will be opaque when cooked through.
  5. After turning off the heat, remove the bay leaves and let the pot stand for 5 minutes. Serves eight.

 

FRENCH QUARTER BEIGNETS

This recipe from the Food Network should yield about three dozen pastries. You will need a deep fryer.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the water, sugar and yeast.
  2. Beat eggs, salt and evaporated milk in another bowl while the water, sugar and yeast sits for 10 minutes. Mix the egg and yeast mixtures when the 10 minutes are over.
  3. Add three cups of bread flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine them. Add shortening and stir while adding the rest of the bread flour.
  4. Take the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. If the dough is too sticky to knead, add more flour, but beware — the Reluctant Gourmet warns that adding too much flour can lead to a dense bread. Beignet bakers should try for a fluffy, light dough, and it’s okay if the dough is a bit sticky before it rises.
  5. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray, then place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let the dough rise for at least two hours.
  6. Preheat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep-fryer. The oil should be deep enough to cover a beignet, with a little room left over.
  7. Pour the powdered sugar into a paper bag and set aside.
  8. When the dough has risen, roll it out to a slab about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 1-inch squares.
  9. Deep-fry the squares, flipping each constantly until they are golden. Drain on paper towels, then toss into the powdered sugar bag and shake until the beignets are evenly coated with powdered sugar.
Tori Fater is a reporter for the Elkhart Truth and also writes for Flavor 574.
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