Roscon de los Reyes

13 Dec

Catherine Dekeizer

One of my favourite things about Christmas time in Spain is El Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day). Traditionally, the 25th of December in Spain was little more than a religious holiday, you would go to mass on Christmas morning but there was very little celebration. Instead you did all your gift-giving and festivities on El Dia de los Reyes. On the morning of the 6th of January, Spaniards celebrate the coming of the Three Wise Men by giving presents, getting together with family and friends, and eating a type of sweet bread called a Roscon. Traditionally, you hide small porcelain figure and a bean in the bread dough while you’re baking it. Whoever gets the slice with the figurine in it will have good luck for the rest of the year, but the person who gets the bean has to pay for the cake! So if you’re looking to add a little Spanish flavour to your holidays this year, why not try out this delicious dessert!

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 oz yeast
  • 2/3 cup equal parts milk and water
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • grated rind of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • candied fruit pieces, cherries, oranges, etc.
  • Almond slivers

Method

  1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a hole in the centre of the mixture.
  2. Stir the yeast into the water/milk mix, then carefully pour into the hole in the flour.
  3. Stir the mixture slowly and stop when it becomes thick (about the thickness of normal double cream)
  4. Sprinkle a little bit of flour over the top of the batter, cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave the batter to rise for about 20 minutes.
  5. Next, cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer. Set that aside for now.
  6. Add the grated rinds, brandy, water and 2 eggs to the flour mixture. Mix it well. The dough should be thick and sticky at this point.
  7. Slowly add the butter/sugar mixture to the dough, stirring all the time. Stir until the dough becomes smooth. It should have formed a ball by now.
  8. Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for about 2 hours (Until the dough ball has doubled in size).
  9. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it (on a floured surface) for a couple of minutes.
  10. Roll the dough out (with a rolling pin) into a long rectangle. Then, taking the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a long sausage shape. Put the roll on a greased baking pan and pinch the two ends together so that it forms a circle on the pan (This is when you would hide the porcelain figure in the dough if you wanted to be really traditional).
  11. Cover it in oiled plastic wrap again and allow it to rise for another hour or so.
  12. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
  13. Lightly beat the egg white in a bowl, uncover the dough ring and brush the top of the dough with the egg white.
  14. Decorate the ring with the candied fruit pieces and almond slices (push them slightly into the dough so that they don’t fall off) and sprinkle the top with sugar.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden.
  16. Allow to cool before serving. If you want to, you can also fill the Roscon by slicing it widthways down the middle (like a bagel) and filling the middle with custard, cream or nutella.

Serve with hot chocolate.

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