Cooking With Sumner!

Sumner Ellsworth

Mardi Gras/Carnivale has passed, without much ado in Hamilton, but just because we’ve entered Lent doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate, unless you’re giving up fun. Here are some recipes for foods traditionally associated with Carnivale.

King Cake

If you find the coin, you’re king for a day!1/2 cup warm water 2 packages dry yeast 2 teaspoons sugar 4 to 5 cups flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1/2 cup warm milk 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled 5 egg yolks 1/2 cup finely chopped candied citron 1 pecan half, coin or King Cake Baby

Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. Combine 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon rind and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.

Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place (your oven on to its lowest setting is usually best this time of year) until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the citron and knead until the citron is evenly distributed. Shape the dough into a cylinder about 30 inches long. Place the cylinder on a buttered baking sheet. Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal. Place a well-greased 2-pound coffee can or shortening can in the center of the ring to maintain shape during baking. Press the King Cake Baby, pecan half or coin into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 45 minutes).

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown. Remove the coffee can immediately. Allow the cake to cool.

Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons water Purple, green and gold sugar crystals or food coloringCombine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors.

Beignets

There’s the right way to make beignets, and the easy way. For most recipes, I’ll go for the right way, but in this case, the easy way is usually just as good.

1 pizza doughOilCinnamon sugar or powdered sugar

Drop small balls of pizza dough into simmering oil. Fry until golden brown on the outside. You want to be sure to keep the balls small, otherwise they might not cook all the way through. Remove from oil and let drain over paper towel. Roll in cinnamon or powdered sugar and serve warm.

Caipirinha

And, just for fun, here’s a cocktail popular in Brazil (and is prominent during Carnivale).

1 lime, quartered1 tablespoon1 shot cacha?ca (rum or vodka can be substituted here)Ice cubes

Place limes and sugar in the bottom of a glass and crush with a wooden spoon, but only to the point of releasing the lime juice. Fill glass with ice, add cacha?ca and stir. You should drink this with a straw so you get the sugar and lime with the alcohol.