19 June 2014

Of cabbages and kings

Hi hello~ It's been ages, you guys!

Since the last post (over two years ago! I am so ashamed of myself), I have finished two and a half years of medical school. That's right, I'm back in the northern hemisphere and halfway through my third-year clinical rotations.

Which means I really shouldn't be blogging right now. Shhhh.

But can I just say, it's true what they say about med school: every year is better than the last.

The workload increases every year, for sure, and there is less time to study more material, which is utterly overwhelming. But I am learning so much, every single day. Most of that learning comes from the best teachers out there -- real patients who are nice enough to take the time to talk to a medical student -- with guidance from some awesome doctors doling out wisdom.

So... If you are ever in a teaching hospital and a student asks to talk to you, please say yes. It may seem like a waste of time to have to answer the same questions twice, but students have more time and fewer responsibilities than a resident or attending, so we can focus better on you as an individual patient. Besides, just by talking to a medical student, you are contributing to his/her education.

That makes you a teacher! Of medical students!


I am actually serious. Say yes to medical students. You just may see us a few years later, looking exhausted and harried, but proudly sporting the long white coat in place of the short one.

Anyway. When I'm not at the hospital, I'm usually passed out at home. I know. I am properly ashamed. I'm in NEW ORLEANS, for goodness' sake. But I have been squeezing in a bit of exploration whenever I could!

And of course, Mardi Gras! This year it fell smack in the middle of exam week, but my roommates and I managed to see a few parades and get lots and lots (and lots) of beads.

We also ate so much king cake, you guys. Apparently it's a thing here -- people bring king cake to share at work.

So I found a recipe and made king cake to bring to the hospital.

I mean, what else is a girl to do?

New Orleans king cake
Adapted from Liv Life.

This is a yeasted loaf cake (gâteau des rois), popular in southern France. The options are limitless as far as filling is concerned. I've had plain cakes with just cinnamon sugar, as well as fancier ones with jam, Bavarian cream, or even apple pie filling. There is another version of king cake that is more popular in northern France, consisting of layers of puff pastry with almond paste in-between (galette des rois). I think I'll try my hand at the galette next year. :)

1 Tbsp. yeast
1 c. warm water
1/2 c. warm milk
1/2 c. sugar
4 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
5 egg yolks

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and milk. Add sugar and stir. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Add to yeast mixture and stir. Add butter and egg yolks, knead into a sticky dough using hands. Scrape the dough onto a clean countertop and knead -- without adding more flour -- until it becomes less sticky.

NOTE: I like to use the sweet dough kneading method described in Not So Humble Pie. It is a very vigorous process, but yields an amazingly soft and chewy texture in the bread. However, if you don't feel like getting a workout into the bargain, refer to the original recipe linked above.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Let sit in a warm, dry place for 1 hour, or until dough is doubled in size.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg yolk, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix with a fork until smooth.

Assembled cake.
1 dry bean
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. milk

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Punch down and knead risen dough a few times. Divide dough into three equal pieces.*

Lightly flour countertop and rolling pin. Roll out one piece of dough to about 12" x 4". Spread 1/3 of filling over dough, leaving a 1" margin on all sides. Roll up the dough lengthwise to form a long cylinder, and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough and filling.

Braid the three strands together, then place braid onto prepared baking sheet and wrap into a circle. Pinch ends together to seal, smoothing the dough to hide the seam.

Hide the bean in one of the crevices in the braid. Cover braided ring with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes, or until dough is doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Beat egg white with milk, then brush over risen dough. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden, or a thermometer reads 200-210ºF.

* Alternatively, divide dough into four equal pieces. Roll out and assemble with filling as described above, and make two smaller loaves of two strands twisted together. I found this to be more manageable in terms of cake size.

2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

Cream sugar and butter until smooth. Mix in lemon juice and zest.

Drizzle lemon icing over cake. Sprinkle with sprinkles or colored sugars. Allow topping to set before serving.

Remember that bean you sneaked into the cake before baking? Whoever finds it in his/her piece of cake is the "king" for the day. He/she is also responsible for bringing the cake next time. :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh galette! I made a savory one last year but it ended up being too buttery... =(
    But lemon icing is the BEST. YUM. Share more treats please. <3