January 6: Feast of the Epiphany

A delicious custom on (or near) the Feast of the Epiphany.

King Cake on Feast of the Epiphany

This post originally appeared on Make Ready the Feast Blog on January 6, 2017.

Begin quoteThis is an “old style” New Orleans King Cake, as it is brioche dough that is decorated.   The trend over the past couple decades has been to a sweeter, Danish pastry type dough that is decorated the same way.   But even older than both is the French Gauteau de Roi, which has been in existence for a long time, and is made by some specialty bakers in New Orleans.  This cake makes its appearance on Epiphany to help celebrate the joyous season of the many manifestations of Christ to God’s people.   In New Orleans it is a season of balls, parties, and parades, and this cake makes an appearance at all of them.  It also shows up at offices, strategically placed near the coffee maker, and the person who finds the little plastic doll tucked inside is responsible for bringing the next King Cake.

The year 1870 saw the appearance of an early New Orleans Mardi Gras organization known as the Twelfth Night Revelers.   They continue to hold their balls to this day, and choose their queen by having their debutantes select pieces from a giant cake.   The damsel who finds the golden bean in her cake will reign over the ball.

Mexico has a similar cake, presented on Twelfth Night, and the family member who finds the token in the cake is responsible for seeing the family attends the mass on Candelario, or the Feast of the Presentation, on February 2.  The presentation of the Christ child at the Temple and Simeon’s joy upon seeing Him are one of the season’s many manifestations.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 to 3½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Green, yellow, blue and red food coloring

The Sponge:  Combine the yeast, ¼ cup water, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a 2 cup measure, whisking well, and set aside to allow to bubble and rise, about 10 minutes.   Meanwhile, whisk the two eggs in a mixing bowl with the ½ cup sugar, 1½ cups of flour, and the cup of milk.   When the yeast has foamed up (“proofed”, or, proven to be working) whisk it into the egg mixture to form a smooth batter.    Cover the bowl with a clean, damp dish towel and set it aside in a warm, draft free place until it doubles in size, about one to one and a half hours.

The Dough:  When the sponge has doubled, stir it down with a wooden spoon and stir in the melted butter, the extracts, salt and nutmeg.   Mix this well.   Then stir in the 2 to 3 cups flour, ½ cup at a time, first with the spoon and then with the hands to form a dough you can begin to knead.   Turn this dough out of the bowl, scraping the inside of the bowl, all onto a lightly floured countertop, and begin to knead.   Add sprinkles of flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking, but it should be slightly tacky at the end of the process.   (Do not add too much flour.)   Knead for eight to ten minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Place the kneaded dough in a clean, buttered bowl, turn it to coat, cover with the damp dish towel, and place in the warm, draft free place to rise until doubled, about one to two hours.  Preheat the oven to 325˚ now.

Shaping and Baking the Cake:   After the dough has risen punch it down with your fist and turn it out onto a lightly floured countertop.   Knead the dough lightly to release any air pockets, and then divide it into three equal portions.   Cover these with the damp dish towel and allow to rest for five minutes to make the shaping easier.   After the rest roll each ball of dough into three “ropes” of one and a half foot lengths.   Place the ropes side by side, and, beginning in the center, braid them to the end.   Then, working from the other side of the ropes, braid them to the other end as well.   Form the braided ropes into a circle, and gently pinch the ends together.   Place the cake on a greased baking sheet, cover it with the damp dish towel, and allow it to rise in the warm place until puffy and nearly doubled, about a half hour.   Be sure your oven is preheated to 325˚.

Once the cake has risen beat together the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water.   Remove the damp towel and brush the egg mixture carefully over the surface of the risen cake.   Then place the cake in the 325˚ oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into one of the braids comes out clean.  When done, remove the cake from the oven, let it rest on the baking sheet for several minutes, then, with a pancake turner, remove it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorating the Cake:   In a medium bowl mix together the 3 tablespoons milk, lemon juice, and 3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar.   Check the consistency, adding more sugar to assure the icing is not too runny.  It should have the consistency of corn syrup.   Pour this over the cooled cake as it sits on its rack.

Place two tablespoons sugar in each of three bowls.   To the first bowl stir in three drops green food color.   Stir in three drops of yellow food color to the second bowl of sugar.   To the third bowl stir in two drops of blue and one of red food color, to make purple.   Sprinkle these colored sugars, in sections, on the top of the iced cake.

Into the underside of the completed cake tuck a New Orleans King Cake plastic doll, or a dried bean, or a whole shelled pecan, as a favor.

The green stands for Faith, the gold for Power, and the purple for Justice.  These are the colors of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, as established by His Majesty, Rex, the King of Carnival, in 1872.

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Submitted by: Brian Reid from St. George’s Episcopal Church, New Orleans. Brian has contributed recipes that have appeared in The Times-Picayune and other local publications.

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, click: king-cake-for-epiphany

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning

Image: Make Ready The Feast

Blessing of Animals at St. Hugh’s

Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open your lips and apply your heart so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God. ~St. Bonaventure (13th century)

Do you have a special bond with your pet? Does your child or grandchild delight in the presence and company of your dog, your cat, your horse, your Iguana? As you come home from work or play: is your pet there to greet you (sometimes with a wagging tail or a sloppy kiss)? Then, come celebrate their presence in your life in a Blessing of the Animals at St. Hugh’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, October 7, 2017, at 9:00am.

We’ll gather outdoors on our Labyrinth. Please provide for the safety of your animals (dogs on leashes, cats, and smaller pets in carriers, birds in cages and so on). All pets are welcome. Even a Teddy Bear or other stuffed animal that “speaks” of a mutual love among creatures will be blessed for those children who want to present their special friend for a blessing. Pictures of beloved pets who don’t travel well are also welcome. It’s a celebration of the diversity of life and the lessons of love learned from our animal companions. All are welcome, you (and your animal companion) are invited.

2017 Animal Blessing

A Prayer After a Murderous Act

We join with the people of God in fervent prayer that our country will honor those murdered and wounded in Las Vegas by joining in acts of repentance, healing, and public conversation about the gun violence that has ripped us apart, yet again.

2017 Mandalay Bay Shooting Prayer

Composed after the events in Las Vegas, NV on October 1, 2017. An appeal to allow our prayers to lead us to actions that heal.

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

 

Emergency Relief provided by Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopal Relief & Development is providing critical emergency supplies to the British Virgin Islands in collaboration with Convoy of Hope and the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands…

2017 Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

This information was originally posted on 29 September 2017 as a Press Release by Episcopal Relief and Development

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Episcopal Relief & Development Provides Emergency Assistance to the British Virgin Islands after the Hurricanes

Episcopal Relief & Development is providing critical emergency supplies to the British Virgin Islands in collaboration with Convoy of Hope and the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands following the devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Convoy of Hope is a faith-based humanitarian organization located in Missouri. The Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands is present on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John in the US Virgin Islands and Tortola and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Critical supplies, including food, two portable kitchens, two refrigeration containers, 350,000 gallons of drinking water, 9,900 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, tarps, plywood and nails as well as hygiene and infant care kits, arrived in Tortola on September 28th. Clergy and lay leaders of the diocese collaborated with Convoy of Hope staff to gather and allocate supplies and ensure that necessary items were shared with vulnerable families with the greatest needs.

“Distributions continue being coordinated with our church partners,” noted Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President for Programs. “The damage is catastrophic throughout the Virgin Islands and people are greatly in need of the most basic necessities. Getting supplies to people on Tortola and Virgin Gorda has been a particular challenge and working with Convoy of Hope together with the Episcopal leadership has been a blessing.”

Many residents are still without electricity, running water and telephone service, leaving them isolated after both hurricanes devastated the Virgin Islands. Homes, hospitals and other buildings were destroyed, roads damaged beyond repair, trees uprooted, and essential services wiped out by the ferocity of these storms. After Hurricane Irma made landfall in early September, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working closely with the Diocese of the Virgin Islands to provide immediate assistance where the Church has a presence. The islands rely heavily on tourism and with restaurants, docks and resorts destroyed, the path to recovery is expected to be a long one.

“Through our partnerships with the diocese and Convoy of Hope, we are offering emergency support to communities that have lost almost everything,” Nelson said. “There’s so much more work that needs to be done, and we are deeply committed to accompanying our partners on the long road ahead.”

Contributions to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund will help support church and other local partners as they provide critical emergency assistance to those most in need.

Logo for Episcopal Relief and Development

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Binding and Loosing

Let us follow Jesus in offering forgiveness.

Breaking Free

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18

Set Free (via Brother Give Us a Word)
Jesus’ unbinding is understood metaphorically as the experience of forgiveness, of being set free from a prison of our own past: things done or left undone, said or left unsaid, by others to us or by us ourselves.
-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

September is National Preparedness Month

Feeling prepared for a situation – be it a job interview, a new baby or a sudden disaster – not only helps us experience less fear and anxiety, but can actually improve how things go. The three most important things you can do to prepare for a disaster are to make a plan, be informed and get a kit.

2017 National Preparedness Month

As our own Episcopal Relief & Development Fund (ERD) works to respond, recover, and rebuild with local partners after Hurricane Harvey, so, too, do they encourage us to be prepared.

Visit the ERD Page US Disaster Program Preparedness Resources. Once there, follow up by evaluating and improving your preparedness for disasters of all kinds.

Thanksgiving for Work on Labor Day

Pause on Labor Day and give thanks for those who work to make your life better.

 

Labor Day 00

This litany, “Thanksgiving for Work,” is intended for the use of our Members and Friends as a way of honoring those whose work has blessed our lives. View or download the litany here.