BY CHEF LISA WHITE
1 cup lukewarm milk, about 95 degrees
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. dry yeast
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup melted butter
5 egg yolks beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated fresh orange zest
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 fresh bananas - slice so they can be shingled
Salted caramel sauce - depends on liking at least ⅔ of a cup
Mascarpone cheese mixture (recipe below)
¾ cup roasted pecans - I like to mix chopped with halves
Praline glaze - recipe below
Gold leaf - 2/ 3 sheets
4 oz Mascarpone Cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1 pinch salt
2 oz powdered sugar (sifted)
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice - strain so no seeds
Butter & Brown Sugar Mixture
1 cup pound brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¼ of an orange zested
**Combine all in a mixer with a paddle attachment
4 oz Brown Sugar
1 oz Molasses
2 oz Heavy Cream
4oz Praline Liqueur
Pour the warm milk into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, yeast, and a heaping tbsp. of the flour, mixing until both the sugar and yeast have dissolved.
Once bubbles have developed on the surface of the milk and it begins to foam, whisk in the butter, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Add remaining flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a large rubber spatula.
After the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, shape it into a large ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.
Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a draft free place to rise for 1.5 hours or until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and roll dough out to as square as possible and spread with butter & brown sugar mixture. You want a light smear of the butter & brown sugar mixture. It’s like buttering toast! The remaining amount can be stored in your refrigerator. Roll up the dough as tightly as possible, like a cinnamon roll, and pinch the ends closed. Shape it into an oval shape and tuck the ends under each other. Place the dough on a nonstick cookie sheet, and let it rise until it doubles in size, about 30 -45 minutes.
Once it’s doubled in size, place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the oval is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the “cake” from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow it to cool, about 30 minutes.
After, it cools, slice the oval with ⅓ of the dough for the top and ⅔ of the dough for the bottom. Smear the bottom half with salted caramel from edge to edge.
Next, top it with the following ingredients:
shingled sliced fresh bananas
more salted caramel (scattered over the top like a “Jackson Pollock painting”)
mascarpone cheese mixture, piped in a loop de loop
Roasted pecans, scattered over the top
Place the top on and press lightly. Now that the top is on the king cake, place whole cake back on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Using a ladle slowly pour the praline glaze over the top of your king cake so it is covered. Using a paring knife, touch the king cake with the gold leaf.
Chef's Tip: You really want the cheese to be room temperature when you start making this filing. Otherwise, you will end up with lumps.
Place cream cheese in mixer bowl with paddle attachment and mix on medium speed. Once, it is visually smooth and not lumpy, scrape down the bowl. Add the mascarpone to the cream cheese and mix until smooth. Scrape down the bowl once again.
Add the powdered sugar. Once the mixture is completely combined, place it in the refrigerator. The mixture should be somewhat stiff when assembling your king cake.
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
This can be bought at the grocer. It is much easier to work with the caramel when it is warm. Place it in a saucepan to heat up with a pinch of sea salt.
Roast the pecans to your desired liking!
Place sugar, molasses and butter in saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbly and the sugar is melted. Once, mixture is bubbly slowly add cream and whisk until it is thoroughly combined. Take care to be careful when working with boiling sugar. Whisk in the praline liqueur & molasses. When ready it should have a velvet look to it.
While it is hot, pour it slowly over the king cake.
This will set much like a praline if stirred too much or after it sits on the cake for awhile