There are many great reasons to live in Louisiana, but Mardi Gras has to be near the top of the list. And king cake – the most regal cake of all – makes the carnival season even more special. This sugary confection comes out of hiding about three weeks before Mardi Gras day and is obsessed over by legions of passionate pastry aficionados who devour and debate their way through every king cake. And then it’s gone in a flash – into sweet hibernation.
But does king cake have to be sweet? Why not a savory and spicy version featuring boudin? That’s the very question my friend Bob Carriker asked himself. Dr. Robert Carriker has a Ph.D. in boudin – well, actually history – and he heads up the Cajun Boudin Trail as well as the history department at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. But his mad genius of an idea — Boudin King Cake — has raised the king cake obsession to new levels. He debuted his boudin king cake – made from a boxed bread mix, Steen’s cane syrup and topped with cracklins – a year ago. Well, not to be outdone, I have a version, too. And it’s as simple as it gets — less than ten minutes to assemble.
After a few rounds of trial and error, I found the perfect balance – tasty and easy – for my boudin king cake. There are only six key ingredients: Start with your favorite boudin or make your own; you’ll need a block of pepper jack cheese; pick up a couple packages of Crescent dinner roll sheets (not the rolls), open up a jar of red pepper jelly; chop some green onion tops; and fry up some crispy bacon. Once you gather all your ingredients, the assembly is easy, and it all bakes up golden brown and spicy delicious in less than an hour.
Crispy bacon-topped crusty bread filled with spicy boudin oozing with pepper jack and glazed with a fiery sweet pepper jelly – reason enough for Mardi Gras to last year round.
- ½ cup red pepper jelly, such as Tabasco
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 pound boudin links
- 1 (8-ounce) package pepper jack cheese, cut into planks
- 2 (8-ounce) cans Pillsbury Crescent dough sheets, 1 sheet per can
- 1 large egg, beaten, for brushing
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup crumbled bacon
- ½ cup diced green onion tops
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- For the glaze, in a saucepan over medium heat, add the red pepper jelly and let cook until it softens and begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Add the water and stir until it thins out. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
- Lay out 2 links of boudin, and with a sharp paring knife, slice down the length of the boudin casing. Peel off the casing and discard. Slice halfway into the boudin the full length of the link. Wedge a plank of cheese into the opening at intervals along the boudin. Push down and close up the boudin around the cheese.
- Open a dough sheet package and unroll the sheet. Place the cylinder of cheese-stuffed boudin on the sheet and roll the dough around. Cut off the excess and pinch the ends closed. Repeat with the second link of boudin.
- On a metal baking tray sprayed with non-stick spray, place the 2 dough-wrapped boudin cylinders and join them together at the ends to form a circle. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
- Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.
- With a spoon or brush, drizzle and paint the pepper jelly over the top of the hot pastry. Sprinkle the top with crumbled bacon and diced green onion tops.
- Serve on the baking tray by slicing the boudin king cake into portions and calling your guests while it’s piping hot.
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