Friday, January 13, 2012

Rosca de Reyes

So January 5th was Twelfth Night or Three Kings day. This day celebrates the arrival of the three wise men and January 6 marks Epiphany in the Christian calendar.  Growing up Protestant, we never really did anything for either of these days. 

Enter the internet.  I was very intrigued with all the Rosca/Roscon de Reyes I saw posted on people's blogs.  As I am too much of a mutt to have my own personal cultural celebrations, I figured I'd glom onto the ones I think are fun...or tasty!

I chose the three kings bread recipe from the King Arthur Flour Website. It looked like the easiest for me to follow as it had step by step photos. (I don't think I'd ever have learned to cook if it weren't for blogs with step by step photos!)

Here is my final product.

It's not very pretty.  I don't think I made the slits in the bread deep enough, or close enough together. That must have been why the cracks formed.  It certainly wasn't because the dough was dry.  The bread had a great soft, but not too soft crumb.  No one said nuffin bout no cracks I tells ya.  We were all too busy shoving our faces.

Traditionally, you are supposed to decorate the cake with dried candied citrus peels and cherries.  My grocery store didn't carry any citrus peels and I was too lazy to make my own.  As for the cherries, my daughter does not like them.  I knew if I had a maraschino cherry on the bread, she wouldn't touch it.

I swear she is the only kid on the planet who doesn't like them.  One time I gave her canned fruit cocktail and she freaked out because there was a cherry in there.  Touching her other fruits!!!!  The cherries were the only thing I ever wanted to eat in fruit cocktail as a kid.  I thought all the other stuff was gross...especially the grapes.  They reminded me of slimy eyeballs.  EW!!
Don't you love my Hercules Disney plate?  All the classiest dishes are being served on them.
Anyhow, back to the Rosca.  I filled mine with a combination of chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts, raisins, golden raisins, and dried cranberries.  I wanted a little more variety in the dried fruit, but the dried fruit mix in the store looked nasty, so raisins and cranberries it was.

I didn't have a baby Jesus little figure to place inside the loaf though.  I read how sometimes people use a bean.  That scared me.  I was afraid one of us would bite into the bean and crack a tooth.  Sometimes people use a whole almond but those are pretty hard as well.  Tasty bread is not worth a trip to the dentist!

The top was already being decorated with pecans so that was out.  I didn't want Blockette to get confused about the inside and outside pecans, so I slipped in a whole walnut.  It was pretty massive and hard to cram inside the loaf.  When the bread was done cooking I could sort of see where it was, but Blockette couldn't and that was the main point.

Now, I'm not a big fan of raisins in bread.  Usually, I pick them out.  I actually liked them in this bread though.  Maybe the bread was just that good, or my taste buds are changing.

M was over the day I made this bread.  He is terribly picky and usually won't eat anything unless it is something his mom has brought over for him.  I asked him if he wanted one of the things his mom brought, or if he would like to try the bread for his after school snack.  Surprisingly, he said he wanted the bread.  He loved it, although he  did pick out each and every one of the raisins and cranberries!

At first, Blockette didnt want to try it.  But she soon changed her mind when M, Mrblocko and I were  gobbling up our slices with our eyes rolled back into our skulls. M commented that I was the best bread baker ever, to which Blockette heartily agreed with pride.  I guess she is proud that I don't suck in the kitchen.  Yay!

Apparently there is a glaze that goes with this recipe.  I just saw it now when I went to the website to grab the address for the hyperlink above.  Oh well.  I bet it would have been tasty with the glaze, but it was so good, I don't think anyone missed it.

Here is the recipe with the glaze included:

Three Kings Cake (Rosca de Reyes) from King Arthur Flour
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup dried mixed fruits or Favorite Fruit Blend
1 tablespoon lemon, orange, or lime zest

candied red cherries and/or orange peel
toasted sliced almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts

1 T sugar
2 t water
1/2 t vanilla extract.

1) For dough: Heat milk to simmer in small saucepan  Pour the hot milk over the butter, sugar, and salt, and stir occasionally until the butter melts. Cool the mixture to lukewarm.

2) In a mixing bowl combine milk mix, eggs, and yeast. Add the flour 1 c at a time, and mix til a soft, smooth dough forms.

3) Place dough in a greased container, cover it, and set it in a draft-free place to rise until doubled (about 1-1 1/2 hrs).

4) After the first rise, deflate dough, cover, and let it rest for 10 min. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 20" x 12" rectangle.

5) For the filling: Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/2" strip bare along one of long edges. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add nuts, mixed fruits and zest, and stir to coat. Sprinkle  evenly over buttered section of dough.  

6) Assembly: Starting with garnished long edge, roll dough up jelly-roll style, working toward edge with no butter. Pinch seam together to seal firmly, bring ends together to form a ring. To keep  bread round, grease outside of a small bowl or custard cup and put on parchment-lined baking sheet. Place ring, seam side down, around bowl and tuck one end inside other, pinching together to seal.

7) Flatten ring slightly, and using a pair of scissors, make cuts in dough at 1 1/2" intervals around  outside edge. Hide a doll or candy inside bread. You can place strips of candied orange peel in cuts. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled (about 30-40 min).

8) To bake: Once dough shaped and rising for second time, preheat the oven to 350°F. When  dough is risen, remove plastic wrap, and brush top with beaten egg. Place candied cherries (cut in half) in the spaces between slits in dough, and decorate with nuts as desired. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over top.

9) Bake bread for 25-30 min, covering loaf loosely with foil after the first 15 minutes, as it will brown quickly. Remove bread from oven when inner parts of slits look cooked and interior measures 190°F . Cool bread on a rack.


  1. It looks fantastic, yummy and very moist. You did GREAT!!! I bet it was delicious too!!! Good for you for embracing cultural traditions. Beautiful :)

  2. That's a beautiful cake! I've always wanted to make one... hasn't happened yet!

  3. You should give it a try. It was pretty easy. I plan on making another one for Fat Tuesday!


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