Saturday, February 18, 2012

King Cake 2012

Mardi Gras is coming up on Tuesday, so you still have time to pick up a king cake for the celebration.  Better yet, why not make one?  My first venture into king cake baking was two years ago; you can read about it HERE.  The resulting cakes were quite good, but this year I wanted to try something a little different.  Whereas my previous attempt used a cinnamon roll dough as the base of the pastry, this time I wanted to try out a recipe I'd been eyeing in one of my Cook's Country magazines.  Their recipe for Pecan Kringle turns out a tender, slightly tangy (from all that sour cream) dough...kind of like a Danish pastry.  It was very good and got rave reviews from my parents, but I think I might stick to the old recipe for next time.  This recipe is a bit fussy and the dough was sort of a pain to work with because it was so sticky!

Pecan Kringle King Cake  (makes 2 cakes)
Cook's Country December/January 2010

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (I used 2 tsp.)
1/8 tsp. salt
4 Tbl. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbl. confectioner's sugar
1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
3/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbl. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
4 Tbl. vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups sour cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbl. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. MAKE FILLING  Process sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until pecans are coarsely ground.  Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Transfer to bowl.

2. MIX DOUGH  Add flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and shortening to empty food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Transfer to bowl and stir in sour cream until dough forms.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and divide in half.  Pat each half into a 7- by 3-inch rectangle and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes, then freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

3. ROLL DOUGH  Roll one dough half into 28- by 5-inch rectangle, cover bottom half of strip with half of filling, fold dough over filling, and pinch seams closed.  Shape into oval, tuck one end inside of other, and pinch to seal.  Transfer to parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 or up to 12 hours.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

4. BAKE KRINGLE  Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees.  Discard plastic, brush kringles with egg, and bake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.  Transfer kringle to wire rack and cool 30 minutes.

5. MAKE GLAZE  Whisk sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl until smooth.  Drizzle glaze over kringles.  If you plan on adding sprinkles, now's the time!  Let glaze set 10 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  (Kringle can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.)


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