It is the time of the year to continue celebrating and eating. In Mexico as well as the rest of Latinamerica countries and Spain, we celebrate “El Día de Reyes” Epiphany Day by gathering with friends and family to eat this special sweet bread made for this special ocassion. Epiphany Day a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ, but for me as a child, meant that the three holy kings will come and leave some money in my shoe and I would eat lots of “Rosca de Reyes” with a nice hot Mexican chocolate for days.
Rosca de Reyes is an oval shape sweet bread that it is done a few days before and on January 6th. There are lot of different traditions around this bread, but in Mexico the bread has inside a tiny little baby doll that represents Jesus Christ and who ever finds it, it is entitled to make tamales on February 2nd.
The actual bread is similar to pan de muerto, but the Rosca de Reyes is topped and decorated with quince paste strips, candied fruit, nuts and a buttery paste, so indulgent and delicious.
Here is the recipe, let me know if you try it!
Feliz Día de Reyes
Rosca de Reyes
- baking parchment paper
- large baking tray
- large bowl
- cling film
- Electric Mixer (optional)
For the Rosca
- 500 ml all purpose white flour
- 4 medium eggs room temperature
- 180 g caster sugar
- 150 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 10 g dry yeast
- 65 ml warm milk
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
For the toppings
- 8 glazed cherries cut in half
- 4 quince paste strips
- 25 g almond flakes
- 35 g icing sugar confectionary sugar
- 35 g all purpose white flour
- 35 g pork lard or vegetable shortening
- 1 egg yok
For the egg wash
- 1 medium egg beaten
- 2 tbsp milk
Making the dough
- Before start making the dough make sure that the eggs and butter are to room temperature.
- Mix the warm milk with the dry yeast and add 1 tbsp of sugar, leave it in a warm place to activate. Once it has lots of bubbles and has double in size is ready to use.
- While the yeast is activating, clean a large surface in your kitchen worktop. Mix the caster sugar with the flour and then place this mix on the clean surface, making a little well (hole) in the middle, this will allows you to place wet ingredients and mix them easily and evenly.
- Beat the eggs and add the orange zest and the orange blossom water. Add this mixture into the well and then add the yeast and start mixing.
- After a minute add the butter and continue mixing. Once all the ingredients are properly mix, start kneading the dough. It is going to get quite wet at some point, but continue kneading and do not be tempted to add more flour. If you have an electric mixer, knead the dough on set number 2 for 25 minutes.
- If kneading by hand, knead for half an hour or until the dough is soft, bouncy and it doesn't stick.
- Once the dough is ready, oil a large bowl and place the dough there covering it with a kitchen tea towel, so it doesn't dry. Place it in the warmest place of your house and wait until it double in size. This can take up to an hour depending on the temperature of the place. This is the first proving.
- When the dough has double in size, dust some flour where the dough was kneaded, take it out of the bowl and knead it a bit more. Then roll the dough in order to form a long dough strip. Or you can make a round dough ball and make a hole in the middle and start stretching it until an oval is form.
- Place the parchment paper on a baking tray and carefully take the dough and place it on top of it, forming an oval (see picture below). Make sure that the Rosca is the same thickness all around. Leave it in the warm place to prove again. It needs to double in size.
- In the meantime, make the creamy paste to decorate. Combine the icing sugar, flour, egg yolk and lard or vegetable shortening. Mix them with a spoon and finish it off with your hands until a ball is form. Place it in the fridge to get cold.
- Have the glazed cherries, quince and almond flakes ready. Once the Rosca has double insize, brush it with some egg wash. Beat the egg and mix it with the milk, then using a baking brush, brush the Rosca with the egg and milk mixture.
- Take the creamy paste out of the fridge and cut it into 4 same size parts. Make 4 rectangles using your hands and place them over the raw Rosca. Then place the cherries, quince and almond flakes (see picture below as an idea). Once the Rosca is decorated, leave it to rest for 15 minutes.
- During this time, preheat the oven to 180° C fan, 350° F, Gas mark 4.
- After 15 minutes, place the Rosca in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. I baked mine for 15 minutes and it was enough.
- The Rosca needs to be golden brown and soft. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down on the baking tray for 15 minutes. Then carefully, lift it and add the little doll or dolls. I usually add only one.
- Enjoy it with a hot Mexican chocolate and share it with friends. Good luck!