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The Family, the Land, and the Tradition

Poppy speaks with Brazilian-born Ana Riehlmann about self-publishing her cookbook, traces Gulf Coast history with Felder Rushing, and learns about a contest taking place during Carnival season.

Filled King Cake
Makes 1 ring about 14-16 pieces

Robins Recipe Notes: I vacillate between filled and unfilled cakes but generally use this same recipe. Without the filling, I often take a few minutes to braid the cinnamon sugar schmeared dough for an equally interesting presentation. With this recipe I find it helps to weigh the dough ingredients for accuracy.

Brioche Dough
3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk warmed
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs (1 separated, white reserved for later)
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) unbleached AP Flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) nonfat dried milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated cardamom or nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Filling (if using*)
8-ounce full-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) unbleached AP Flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons bourbon
*alternatively a softened cinnamon sugar (ground nut) butter spread can be used

2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, bourbon or rum
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
pinch of salt
1-3 tablespoons milk or orange juice

Purple, gold and green sanding sugars
Dried bean or king cake charm

Combine dough ingredients in a stand mixer (or by hand), mix and knead until dough is smooth and glossy (it will remain sticky). Form a ball and keep or place in a greased bowl, covered allowing to rise by about one third (about an hour in a draft-free spot).

Meanwhile, make the filling if using: Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon (depending on how much you like) and flour, add the egg and bourbon to create a smooth filling. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Transfer the soft dough to a lightly floured counter or board and stretch into a long 3" thick log. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. .

Use the side of your hand to create a crease down the center of the dough log. Spoon the filling evenly into the crevice and spread. Fold up sides to cover filling and pinch to seal the filling. *If not using filling simply spread flavored butter over one to three (if braiding) strands.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Place the log of dough, seam down onto a parchment covered cookie sheet making a round or rectangular shape (using a greased upside-down Bundt or cake pan in center will help maintain shape). If not using filling, twist or braid logs. Pinch the ends together as neatly as possible. If using, insert a dried bean or king cake charm. Cover and let rise for about an hour, until puffed up.

Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon water or milk, and brush it over the risen loaf. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes until it's a rich golden brown and a skewer poked only into dough (not filling) comes out clean. Check midway into baking to see if cake needs a foil tent to prevent over browning. Do not over bake or cake will be dry! Remove from the oven and allow to rest (loosen any shaping ring used at this point). When slightly cooled carefully transfer to a cooling rack using parchment as a sling.

Combine all icing ingredients but milk or juice and metering liquid by the half tablespoon until it just becomes pourable. Drizzle icing over cooling cake covering any inconsistencies and letting it drip off sides at intervals. While icing is still tacky, sprinkle alternating stripes of colored sugar in a decorative fashion. Cool completely before cutting (at least 2 hours).

Laissez le bon temp roulez!

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Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.