King cake recipe to make Mardi Gras at home feel like a New Orleans celebration

KELLY MCCARTHY
·5 min read

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, "Good Morning America" went to the heart of New Orleans to enlist culinary and cultural expertise for a traditional recipe for Mardi Gras.

The family behind Dooky Chase's Restaurant, one of the most famous black-owned establishments in the Big Easy, spoke to "GMA" about the history and hospitality they have served up over the years and how they are celebrating even amid the pandemic.

PHOTO: Ingredients for King cake and bread pudding for a traditional Mardi Gras dessert. (ABC News)
PHOTO: Ingredients for King cake and bread pudding for a traditional Mardi Gras dessert. (ABC News)

Edgar Lawrence "Dooky" Chase III said "this restaurant has been here since 1939" and has stories about guests including Satchel Paige, Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, John Lewis and more.

Leah Chase, known as the "queen of Creole," and her husband Edgar "Dooky" Chase Jr. turned the former sandwich shop into a fine dining restaurant, but it became much more -- including a meeting spot for civil rights leaders and a gallery for Black artists.

At a time when "African-American people didn't have a place" Stella Chase-Reese said, her family "created that place because they love people and they loved the community."

The current executive chef, Edgar "Dooky" Chase IV, explained that "this restaurant means everything to our family."

"It's so much history, so much tradition. And it's a place where we always come together," he said. "This is a place where we learned how to show that New Orleans hospitality."

For four generations that hospitality has stayed true to Leah Chase's pioneering vision.

"She brought people here from all over, not only the country, the world," Chase-Reese said. "She would always say, 'pray, work hard and do for others.' So we are a family of prayer and we certainly did pray that all would go well because we didn't want her legacy just to stop."

The family rallied around that legacy amid the pandemic with a shift to takeout and providing free meals to neighbors in need.

"It has definitely been a time when we had to be flexible, change up how we market, change up how we reach our guests," the chef said. "But what we do want to do is make you feel that same hospitality that you would have gotten before this pandemic as you would get now."

Check out the full recipes below for a classic king cake as well as a bread pudding inspired by the Mardi Gras dessert to try at home.

King Cake

PHOTO: A classic King cake for Mardi Gras dessert. (ABC News)
PHOTO: A classic King cake for Mardi Gras dessert. (ABC News)

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cup of milk ( warm 100 to 110 degrees)

2 eggs

6 cups all-purpose flour

brown sugar/cinnamon mixture

1/4 cup cubed butter (softened)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 cups powder sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

In a pot, warm butter, milk and 1/4 cup sugar stirring until butter melts. Take off heat. Pour into mixing bowl. Add yeast. Whisk until bubbles form on top and yeast is dissolved. Let cool for 5 min. Beat eggs and fold into wet mixture.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix add flour, cinnamon, salt and remainder of sugar.

Add 2 cups of dry flour mixture to the wet mixture and fold. Then gradually add remainder of dry flour mixture until dough is formed.

Flour tabletop and knead dough for 10 minutes until elastic.

Lightly oil bowl and place dough in, cover bowl with wrap and let rise for an hour or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take dough out, punch dough down. Separate in half. Roll out each half on dusted table top. After rolled, cut each into three equal parts. Take cinnamon, brown sugar, butter mixture and sprinkle over each piece. Then fold each piece to create three rolls. Then braid the rolls together. Pinch ends together with wet finger tips. Let stand for 25 minutes to rise.

Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

For the glaze, mix powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice until powder sugar is dissolved.

To make color sugar topping add 1 cup sugar and 3 drops of food color. In a air tight container add sugar and food color. Shake well until all sugar has changed color. Repeat for each color.

King Cake Bread Pudding

PHOTO: A King cake-inspired bread pudding for Mardi Gras. (ABC News)
PHOTO: A King cake-inspired bread pudding for Mardi Gras. (ABC News)

Ingredients

1 loaf of French bread or 5 cups of cubed king cake (sugar and glaze removed)

2 12-ounce cans evaporated milk

1 cup water

6 eggs (beaten)

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 tablespoons vanilla

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 stick of butter (softened)

Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

In a large bowl, break bread and moisten with evaporated milk and water. Pour eggs over mixture and mix well. Add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Cut butter into pieces and add to mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

For the glaze, mix all ingredients in a bowl well until powdered sugar is dissolved.

To make color sugar topping: add 1 cup sugar and 3 drops of food color. In a air tight container add sugar and food color. Shake well until all sugar has changed color. Repeat for each color.

King cake recipe to make Mardi Gras at home feel like a New Orleans celebration originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com