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How To Make A King Cake Latte

The King Cake Latte Is Incredible—Here’s How To Make One At Home
Latte King Cake

ZAC CADWALADER  Originally Published on: JANUARY 15, 2021 WIRE SHARE


COVID-19 has pretty much-ruined everything; this we already know. But some traditions remain intact, and that includes the delicious tradition of King Cake.

Traditionally served in the month of January, bakeries around Louisiana are pumping out the traditional pastry to offer a sweet bite of better times. In my own backyard of Dallas, PJ’s, a New Orleans-based coffee shop hopping across the Texas-Lousiana border, is offering an exciting new twist on the foodie favorite: King Cake Lattes. Per Eater Dallas, the limited-time drink includes “PJ’s espresso dolce roast, steamed milk with vanilla and cinnamon, and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream dusted in purple sugar.”

Frankly, everyone here at Sprudge is obsessed. Much like Hamentashen, the King Cake is one of those sweet treats that comes but once a year, whose arrival is hungrily awaited. Find a way to add coffee to it—or it to coffee—and you’ve really got our attention.

But we understand not everyone can pop out to their nearest cafe for a King Cake Latte. So if you can’t get to a PJ’s, or want to make your very own version, Sprudge co-founder and noted King Cake enthusiast Jordan Michelman has whipped us up a play-at-home recipe.

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King Cake Latte Topping

First, let me state for the record that King Cake is literally the best. There is no better sweet treat. GambinosHaydelsDong PhuongSucreAmbrosia Bakery—you cannot go wrong with any of these, and nearly all of them ship.

Traditional Louisiana-style King Cake calls for a very simple icing, what’s sometimes called “English icing” made of powdered sugar, milk, and lemon. As with all things King Cake there is endless variation and riffing—there is even an un-iced purist version, made using puff pastry and almond filling (they make an excellent one at Poupart Bakery). The inclusion of butter or even cream cheese to the icing recipe is not uncommon, although others feel the only appropriate place for cream cheese is inside the King Cake itself.

Very fine icing will fall apart immediately atop liquid, which is why the King Cake Latte needs to be floated with stouter stuff. After much trial and error, I suggest making a simple Diplomat Cream (aka Creme Patissiere), a sort of whipped cream vanilla pudding hybrid that holds up on top of a mug, and makes a sturdy precipice for the critical addition of gold, green, and purple sprinkles.

First, make a simple custard. Heat milk in a saucepan, then cream sugar and egg yolks together in a separate bowl, adding flour as you go. Combine the two into the saucepan, remove from heat, and stir until smooth. There are a billion recipes for this—I outlined the St. John version up above but use whatever style you like.

Then make whipped cream. Whatever your preferred method is here is fine—I like cream, vanilla, and icing sugar in an electric mixer, but everyone has their own way, and also store-bought is fine.

Combine the custard and the whipped cream together once everything is room temp. Store in the fridge for half an hour to let it cool and set up.

Then make your coffee. King Cake is a sweet treat, and your coffee should be too for this drink, although of course, the level of sweetness is up to you. Dissolving a teaspoon of brown sugar and powdered cinnamon into brewed not-too-light roasted coffee is a fine move—the house or espresso blend at your favorite indie roaster should work great, but let me specifically recommend this notes of King Cake blend now offered by Mug Drugs. To this, you might also add pre-sweetened alternative milk if that’s your preference, or otherwise sweeten up some cold brew. But don’t skip the cinnamon—this is a really important part of the King Cake flavor profile.

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Pour your sweet and cinnamony coffee into a vessel of your choosing, then top with a dollop of the Diplomat Cream, enough to cover the brew. The King Cake Latte isn’t a latte, exclusively; it’s more like a King Cake Coffee, and the coffee portion itself can be a latte, or cold brew with stuff added, or brewed coffee with stuff added, and the Diplomat Cream will blend with the liquid as you’re drinking with, further latte-fying the proceedings. The name—King Cake Latte—is more about evoking a feeling than any sort of specific drink requirement. Whatever you’re into is ultimately what’s correct, in this recipe as with all things in life.

Now it’s time for sprinkles. The traditional Mardi Gras colors each have their own unique meaning: purple for justice, green for faith, gold for power. It’s common to represent all three evenly, but if you’re in need of a little more faith or justice this year, the Lord won’t mind.

Sprinkle your sprinkles atop the Diplomat Cream, and sip your way through it to the sweet cinnamony beverage below. What a wonderful treat.

As a final note, you might be wondering about the baby—baking a plastic baby inside of King Cake is part of the tradition, but here in 2021 a lot of places sell the baby on the side to avoid choking hazard litigation. Many a King Cake baby is available for sale online, so do with that information what you wish. Happy drinking!

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge. 

Related:

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How To Make Carpaccio Smoked Salmon

Carpaccio di salmone affumicato (Smoked Salmon Carpaccio)

Originally Published by Frank 27 December 2020antipastiVeneto37 Comments

Carpaccio di salmone affumicato (Smoked Salmon Carpaccio)

Here’s an elegant yet quick and easy starter that would fit perfectly into just about any menu: Carpaccio di salmone affumicato, or Smoked Salmon Carpaccio.

Classic carpaccio, of course, is made with thinly sliced beef. But the term carpaccio has evolved into a kind of passepartout for any number of dishes featuring thin slices of meat or fish, typically dressed with a light vinaigrette and perhaps some aromatic herbs. In this incarnation, thin slices of smoked salmon are dressed simply with an emulsion of oil and lemon, to which I like to add just a pinch of finely minced parsley. If you like, you can gussy up your carpaccio with all sorts of garnishes: a few capers, shaved fennel, arugula, even pomegranate seeds. Whatever strikes your fancy, really.

Smoked Salmon Carpaccio is simple itself to make, but it makes quite the impression, so it’s apt for a special occasion. To me, it’s an ideal way to begin a cenone di san Silvestro, or New Year’s Eve dinner on a simple but elegant note. That means less time in the kitchen, and more time sipping champagne and enjoying the evening with your loved ones. I call that a win-win.

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Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 500g (1 lb) smoked salmon, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • A few leaves of fresh parsley, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 dl (1 cup) olive oil

For garnish (optional):

  • Capers
  • Shavings of fresh fennel
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Arugula
  • Avocado wedges
  • Pomegranate seeds

Directions

Arrange thin slices of smoked salmon on a plate (if you like, over a bed of tender greens as pictured).

Then, whisk together all the dressing ingredients together until you have a smooth emulsion. Spoon this over the salmon slices.

Allow the salmon to macerate for just 5 minutes or so before serving, topped with one more garnishes if you like. Some crusty bread to go with is always welcome.

Notes on Smoked Salmon Carpaccio

As we’ve pointed out on this blog, the original carpaccio, as invented by Giuseppe Cipriani for his renowned Venice bar, was made with sliced beef fillets, pounded paper-thin then dressed with a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce.  The charm of using smoked salmon, of course, is that you can buy it pre-sliced, which eliminates an awful lot of work. And the resulting contrast of orange and green, while not true to Carpaccio’s style of contrasting reds and whites, is lovely to behold all the same.

The choice of smoked salmon is up to you, but I particularly like Nova Scotia, the kind used for lox and bagels, as it’s only lightly smoked. For a more decisive smokiness, you could opt for Scottish smoked salmon. Personally, I find sockeye salmon’s darker color and fishier flavor less appealing as a carpaccio, but if you like it don’t let me stop you.

And obviously, you want to best quality olive oil you can manage to find, although I would opt for a lighter one, perhaps one from Liguria. Those very fruity and green olive oils, as wonderful as they are, could overwhelm the flavor of the fish.

And speaking of which, go light on the lemon juice. You want just enough to brighten the olive oil but no more. Since lemons vary in size and acidity, you may want to start with a few drops and add more to dressing until you’re pleased with the results. Also true for the salt. It may come as a surprise that you’d need any, but a small pinch, just enough to enhance the other flavors without drawing attention to itself, is what you want.

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Variations

As mentioned above, the basic recipe for Smoked Salmon Carpaccio lends itself to a huge variety of garnishes. I’m partial to either laying my carpaccio on a bed of tender greens or else topping it with arugula leaves, which pairs particularly nicely with smoked salmon, I think. But the list given in the ingredients list is really just examples. Let your imagination run wild!

Besides its usual role as a starter, Smoked Salmon Carpaccio can double as a light pescatarian main course as well.

Making Ahead

You can plate the salmon well ahead, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re almost ready to serve. The dressing, too, can be made ahead. Let the salmon come back to room temperature, then nap it with the dressing and top with any garnishes. What I wouldn’t do, however, is dress the salmon too far ahead of time as the dressing will become overwhelming if the salmon is left to macerate too long.

Carpaccio di salmone affumicato (Smoked Salmon Carpaccio)

 Print Recipe

Carpaccio di salmone affumicato

Smoked Salmon CarpaccioTotal Time15 mins Course: AntipastoCuisine: ItalianKeyword: raw, seafood

Ingredients

  • 500g 1 lb smoked salmon thinly sliced

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 small lemon, juice of freshly squeezed
  • A few leaves of fresh parsley, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 250ml 1 cup olive oil

For the garnish (optional):

  • Capers
  • Shavings of fresh fennel
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Arugula
  • Avocado wedges
  • Pomegranate seeds

Instructions

  • Arrange thin slices of smoked salmon on a plate (if you like, over a bed of tender greens as pictured).
  • Then, whisk together all the dressing ingredients together until you have a smooth emulsion. Spoon this over the salmon slices.
  • Allow the salmon to macerate for just 5 minutes or so before serving, topped with one more garnishes if you like. Some crusty bread to go with is always welcome.

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