Tuesday, February 21, 2012

fat tuesday

Image from SoulKitchen

Happy Fat Tuesday! So what exactly is it? Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

The biggest Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras celebration in the West happens to be here in San Diego and things tend to get crazy in the downtown area - I just heard on the news that over 400,000 people are expected to show up tonight. I've never done anything to celebrate the day but I do love eating King Cake! I found a recipe that doesn't seem as labor intensive on About.com (it uses crescent dough instead of having to make your own). And don't forget the baby - you can get packages of the plastic babies in the baby shower section at Party City or similar place.

•4 ounces (half of a large block) cream cheese
•1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained, and patted dry on paper towels
•1/2 cup pecan halves (optional)

•2 rolls (total of 12 individual crescent rolls) refrigerated crescent rolls in the can

•1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
•3 to 4 Tablespoons milk or cream
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•Purple, green, and yellow colored sugar crystals or food coloring

Place cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until combined. Add pecan halves and pulse until pecans are chopped to about 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a pizza pan or baking sheet with butter-flavored vegetable oil.

Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Position triangles next to each other with the points toward the center, overlapping the long sides about 1/4-inch, forming a large round. Where the pieces overlap, press the seams together only in the center of each seam, leaving either ends of the seams unsealed so you can fold them up over the filling.

Spread the filling around in a ring covering the center sealed seam of each triangle.

Place a small plastic baby (or dried bean if you don't have a baby) somewhere in the filling. (The person who gets this piece will have good luck for the year.)

Fold the short side of each triangle toward the center just to the edge of the filling to cover. Then pull the point end of the triangles toward the outer rim of the pan to fully enclose the filling, tucking under the points. Lightly press the seams.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla until smooth. The consistency should be fairly thick, but still thin enough to slowly drip down the sides. Add more milk as necessary. Spoon the icing in a ring over the top of the King Cake and allow it to slowly drip down the sides.

To decorate for Mardi Gras, sprinkle wide stripes of purple, green, and yellow colored sugar crystals.

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