Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Very warm hello!
The very first recipe of the 2019 and the very first post on this blog!
Roscón de Reyes is a traditional Spanish sweet bread, served on the morning of January 6th. "Dia de Reyes" or Epiphany is the day when children in Spain receive gifts from the "Reyes Magos"- Three Kings. Roscón de Reyes is a very colorful pastry that immediately will catch your attention around this time of the year in almost every food store in Spain. Its shape resembles the royal crown with candied fruits imagined as jewels.
Traditionally several surprises are hidden (baked in) inside the "roscon." A porcelain figure of baby Jesus is a symbol of luck for whoever finds it, while a dry bean says: "Better luck next year, but this year you pay for the cake!" The tradition celebrating the Day of the Epiphany comes from the middle ages in Europe, mainly from Spain, but this tradition is also alive in other Latin countries, for example Mexico where family and friends gather around Rosca de Reyes (Mexican version) on January 6th to celebrate the occasion.
I couldn't resist it while on holidays in Andalusia and decided to bake it myself! It is absolutely worth the effort!
400 g flour
25 g fresh yeast
125 ml milk (room temperature)
100 g white sugar
70 g butter (or baking margarine, room temperature)
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 table spoon of rum (could be omitted)
1 table spoon of Aqua de Azahar (orange flower-blossom water or 1 table spoon of orange juice)
1 grated rind of 1 orange (or orange + lemon)
1/2 tea spoon salt
Candied fruits, cut into strips for example: orange, lemon, pear, mango or cherries
Step by step:
To activate fresh yeast, stir it with warm (but not hot) milk. Add 1 tea spoon of sugar and 1 table spoon of flour, mix gently (I prefer to use wooden spoon) and let it stand (covered by kitchen dish towel) for about 15 minutes in a dry and warm place.
Sift 400 g of flour into a mixing bowl, add salt, sugar, grated rind of orange (or orange + lemon). Pour the activated yeast solution into the center of the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Add the orange blossom essence (or orange juice), the rum, the egg yolk, egg and once again mix carefully (I used wooden spatula).
Knead dough until it is elastic. It may be sticky at the beginning, but should not stick to the fingers as you continue to knead it for couple minutes. You can also add a little flour to facilitate the process. Add soft butter and continue to knead until the dough is smooth. Form it into a ball. Place the dough in a floured bowl, in a dry and warm place for about 1-2 h until it doubles it's size. Once the dough has doubled its size, knead it for a minute to remove air. Carefully place the dough onto the prepared baking paper sheet and form a ring. Cover it with another piece of baking paper and leave in a warm place to let if grow for additional 30-60 minutes. As the dough is ready, paint it with mixture of egg yolk and milk and finally decorate with candied fruits and almond flakes before putting to the oven for 25-30 minutes at 160º C. Bake your roscón until golden brown color or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the comes out clean. Let your roscón cool down for at least couple minutes before cutting it or filling with cream of your choice. Bon appetit! :)