Okay, out with the old, in with the new! I wish all of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
All of the Christmas decorations are down, but you may not know it from the look of some things around here. Does this look like a Christmas tree to you?
If you look closely, you can see that it has been transformed into a Mardi Gras tree! You see, Twelfth Night is the twelfth day of Christmas (January 6th) and is traditionally celebrated on the preceeding Sunday (January 3rd this year). It is also know as the Epiphany and is a celebration of the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles and the visit of the Wise Men to the Christ child.
Yes, that is a lot for a Southern Baptist girl to know, I admit. But, it is also the beginning of Carnival which ends on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) before the beginning of lent.
Personally, I have always loved the Carnival festivities and their meanings. As I have mentioned before, my husband was born in New Orleans and I have learned a lot of the wonderful customs from him (he is Episcopalian). We are not so much about denominations as we are about being Christians 🙂
Yes, that is a feather boa around the bottom of the tree. The traditional colors of Carnival are purple, green and gold. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about that some time!
Even the dining table is ready. Yes those purple candles are really short! They are actually from last year. I’ll get more when we can get out and about. This morning we woke up to snow!
That little critter running in the snow is my little dog Bailey. He loved it! The snow was beautiful, however, everthing will be shut down now for a couple of days.
I hope your metamorphosis are as much fun as mine has been from Christmas to Carnival!
Today’s Lagniappe: King Cake
King Cakes are the traditional cake for the Epiphany. Though the cakes are baked in many shapes now, they were originally round in shape to portray the circular route taken by the Kings to confuse King Herod who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ child.
The cakes usually contain a bean, pea, or a figurine symbolizing the baby Jesus. In 1871 the tradition of choosing the queen of the Mardi Gras was determined by who drew the prize in the cake. It is definitely considered good luck to the person who gets the figure, and that person usually holds the next King Cake party.
* 8 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
* 6 eggs
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 pound butter or shortening
* 2 cups whole milk, scalded then cooled to lukewarm
* 1/2 ounce yeast (2 1/4-ounce packages, or about 4 1/2 tsp)
* 2 teaspoons salt
* Candies to decorate
To make the cake take 6 cups sifted flour, and put it in a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in the center of the flour, and put in a half-ounce of yeast, dissolved in a little warm water. Add the 2 cups milk. Knead and mix the flour with one hand, while adding the milk with the other. In another bowl, combine remaining 2 cups flour with the salt; set aside. In another mixing bowl, beat eggs with butter and sugar until light. Add to dough, kneading lightly with your hands, and adding more eggs if the dough is a little stiff. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, then add the reserved flour and salt.
Knead the dough by turning it over on itself three times and set to rise again, covered with a cloth for about an hour. Take it up and work again lightly, and then form into a ring.
This is a large amount of dough, so it may be divided and baked in two or more King’s Cakes. Pat gently and flatten a little. Have ready a greased parchment paper or silpat-lined baking pan, and set the ring in the middle. Cover the pan with a clean cloth, and set the cake to rise for an hour longer. When well risen, glaze the loaves lightly with a beaten egg. Place in 325° oven; let bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or less if making smaller loaves. Decorate with colored icings and decorator candies, as desired.