Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Recipe: King Cake

February 1, 2010

This recipe was taken from DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy You Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style (Taunton Press, 2009), by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum will feature a King Cake discussion and tasting on February 6, 2010.


For the cake:
1 (1-1/4-oz.) package dry-active yeast
1/4 cup warm milk (105°F–115°F or warm to the touch)
1 cup plus 6 Tbs. bread flour plus extra for rolling
1 Tbs. honey
3/4 cup cake flour
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. table salt
5 Tbs. unsalted butter,   at room temperature
1 plastic baby figurine (to hide in the cake), optional
For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 Tbs. milk
For the icing and decoration:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 Tbs. light corn syrup
3 Tbs. milk
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups granulated sugar
Green food coloring
Gold or yellow food coloring
Purple or red and blue food  coloring

To make the cake:Whisk the yeast with the warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer until dissolved. Add the 6 tablespoons of bread flour and the honey and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until fairly smooth (there will still be a few lumps), 30 seconds to 1 minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled, add 3/4 cup of the remaining bread flour, the cake flour, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook, increase the speed to medium, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and begin adding 4 Tbs. of the butter 1 Tbs. at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to knead until the dough forms a slack ball (it will ride the dough hook, be tacky, and not slap the bottom of the bowl, but it should generally come together into a loose mass), 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough doesn’t come together, continue kneading while adding up to 1/4 cup of the reserved bread flour, until it does.

Grease a large bowl with 1/2 Tbs. of the remaining butter and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over in the bowl to coat with butter. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and place the bowl in a draft-free spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper with the remaining butter. Generously flour your work surface using the remaining 1/4 cup of bread flour (if you used the bread flour in the dough, dust your work surface with more bread flour). Turn the dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with some flour. Use your hands to press and flatten it into a rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick strip that is about 24 inches long by about 6 inches wide. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough on top of itself, making a long, thin baguette-shaped length. Pinch the edge to the body of the dough to seal, turn the dough so it lies horizontally on your work surface, and gently roll it on your work surface to even out any bulges and create a somewhat consistent 1-1/2-inch-wide rope. Bring the two ends of the dough together and pinch them into one another to seal. Carefully transfer the dough oval or circle to the prepared sheet pan. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm, dry spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 375°F. To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and the milk together in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough, and bake the king cake until golden and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and insert the baby figurine (if using). Set on a rack to cool completely.

To make the icing:While the cake cools, make the icing. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed until smooth and completely incorporated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until you are ready to glaze the cake.

To make the colored sugar, measure 1 cup of the sugar into each of 3 resealable quart-size plastic bags. Add 4 drops of green food coloring to one bag, 4 drops of gold or yellow food coloring to another bag, and 4 drops of purple food coloringto the last bag (if you don’t have purple, make it yourself: measure 2 drops of red and 2 drops of blue food coloring onto a spoon and mix with a cake tester or toothpick until combined). Seal each bag and then vigorously shake to combine the sugar and food coloring.

Spoon the icing over the cooled cake. Immediately after icing, decorate with the tinted sugar. I like to alternate colors every 2-1/2 inches, but you can also divide the cake into 3 sections and apply one color to each section. Slice and serve immediately.

Recipe: Buttermilk Beignets

November 10, 2009

davidguasThis recipe is taken from DamGoodSweet, the new New Orleans style cookbook for sweets by Chef David Guas.  David Guas’ book release party will be held at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on December 6, 2009.  Learn more here…

Buttermilk Beignets  (from DamGoodSweet by David Guas)

3/4 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 1/2 cups bread flour plus extra for flouring work surface

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut oil for frying

Confectioners’ sugar for serving, as much as you think you’ll need – then double that!

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until small bubbles form at the surface.  Remove from the heat, add the buttermilk, and then pour into a stand mixer bowl.  Whisk in the yeast and the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed, using a dough hook, until the dry ingredients are moistened, 3-4 minutes.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough forms a loose ball and is still quite wet and tacky, 1-2 minutes longer.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough aside in a draft-free spot for one hour.

Pour enough peanut oil into a large pot and fill it to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a temperature of 375 degrees (F) over medium heat (this will take about 20 minutes).  Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.

Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on it.  Dprinkle the top of the dough with flour, gently press to flatten, fold it in half, and gently tuck the ends under to create a rough-shaped round.  Dust again and roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch to 1/3-inch circle.  Let the dough rest for 1 minute before using a chef’s knife, a bench knife, or a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares (you should get about 48).

Gently stretch a beignet lengthwise and carefully drop it into the oil.  Add a few beignets (don’t overcrowd them, otherwise the oil will cool down and the beignets will soak up oil and be greasy) and fry until puffed and golden brown, turning them often with a slotted spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer to the prepared plate to drain while you cook the rest.  Serve while still warm, buried under a mound of confectioners’ sugar, with hot coffee on the side.

Makes about 4 dozen beignets

->MAKE AHEAD  The beignet dough can be made up to 8 hours in advance of frying.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  After cutting the dough, place the beignets on the paper and place another greased sheet of parchment paper, sprayed-down side, on top.  Wrap the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  The beignets can be fried straight from the refrigerator.

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