Born in South Louisiana, on the feast of the epiphany, New Orleans Chef Nathan Richard (formerly of Kingfish and Cavan, and now cooking at DTB) has Mardi Gras in his blood. The former Thibodaux King of Carnival has been celebrating in his hometown of Thibodaux since birth, and over the years has developed a unique appreciation for the traditions and pageantry of the season that includes this delicious and unique king cake.
Creole Cream Cheese and Satsuma King Cake
- 1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- ¼ cup warm water (about 115°)
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- Creole Cream Cheese Filling (recipe follows)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup whole buttermilk
- Mardi Gras Sugar (recipe follows)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast, 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar, and ¼ cup warm water; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add milk, vanilla, eggs, egg yolk, and remaining sugar. Beat at low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Turn mixer off, and add flour and salt. Mix at medium speed until dough just comes together. Mix at high speed for 4 minutes. Add butter, and continue mixing until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Punch down dough, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick. Cut a ½-inch hole in the center of the circle, and pull with your fingers to widen. Place dollops of Creole Cream Cheese Filling evenly around circle halfway between outer edge and inner hole.
- Drape outside edges over filling and continue rolling outside inward until filling is covered, widening inner hole as needed, until dough covers the seam. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Uncover cake, and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Transfer cake to a cutting board or serving platter; spread buttermilk glaze evenly over top of cake and sprinkle evenly with Mardi Gras Sugar.
Creole Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 cup Creole Cream cheese (recipe follows)
- ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cane syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ½ cup Satsuma Jelly (recipe follows)
- In a large bowl, combine Creole Cream Cheese, brown sugar, cane syrup, cinnamon, salt, and zest; beat mixture with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Fold in Satsuma Jelly, and set aside.
Creole Cream Cheese
- 1 gallon skim milk at room temperature (between 70° and 80°)
- ½ cup whole buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon liquid rennet (6 to 8 drops)
- 6 to 7 (16-ounce) plastic cups
- In a large enameled saucepan, glass, or plastic bowl, combine milk, buttermilk, and rennet, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap or cheesecloth, and let stand at room temperature for 16 to 24 hours. Do not stir again, or the curds will break up. The longer the mixture sits, the firmer the cheese will become.
- Punch holes in the bottoms of each cup, and line with cheesecloth. Set cups on a wire rack in a roasting pan.
- Carefully transfer curds to prepared cups. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight (longer is fine). Cheese will become firmer as more liquid drains. Transfer to clean glass jars; cover and refrigerate up to two weeks.
- 3½ cups satsuma juice*
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 (1.75-ounce) package Sure-Jell
- 5 cups sugar
- In 3-quart saucepan over high heat, bring juices and Sure-Jell to a hard boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add sugar, and return to a hard boil for 1 minute. Skim any foam that rises to the top before canning.
- Pour into sanitized jelly jars, then place sanitized lids and rings on the jars. Screw down hand-tight. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove from boiling water, and place on a towel-lined surface. Let cool. Once cool, let stand overnight.
- Check for proper seal by pressing on the lid. If lid pops, refrigerate and use immediately. Properly sealed cans may be stored in a dark, cool place up to 6 months.
*Tangerine juice may be substituted.
Mardi Gras Sugar
- 1½ cups sugar, divided
- 16 drops red food coloring
- 8 drops blue food coloring
- 8 drops green food coloring
- 8 drops yellow food coloring
- Place ½ cup sugar in each of three small resealable plastic bags.
- In a small bowl, combine red and blue food coloring until it turns purple. Add purple food coloring to one bag, green coloring to another bag, and yellow coloring to third bag; seal bags, and shake each until sugar is even in color.
Can the Creole Cream Cheese be used like store bought cream cheese in cheese cake recipes? If so will it bake up just the same?
Yes, you can certainly use store-bought Creole cream cheese in this recipe.