Friday, January 6, 2012

Three Kings' Day Bread

To mark the Feast of the Epiphany:
Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings’ Day Bread)

2 pkg. yeast
½ c. lukewarm milk
7 c. all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1¾ c. butter
½ c. seedless raisins
2 Tbsp. orange blossom water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. anise seed
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
1 porcelain miniature doll
egg mixed with confectioner’s sugar (as needed)
biznaga (candied fruit)

Dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm milk. Mix with all the dough ingredients (flour, eggs, sugar, salt, butter, raisins, orange blossom water, vanilla extract, anise seed, cinnamon) and knead the batter until it is smooth and elastic. Form into a large ball, place in a lightly greased bowl in a warm area, covered with a towel, and turn the ball of dough over so that it is greased on both sides. Allow it to double in size, about 2 hours.

Shape the dough into a large open ring (to represent the king’s crown). Hide the porcelain doll (this is the tradition) somewhere in the bread. Cover it again with towels and allow it to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Using a pastry brush, decorate the ring with a paste made of egg and confectioner’s sugar to create the appearance of rays of light extending from the center. Decorate the ring with biznaga.

Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool completely on a rack before serving.

Yield: 24 slices

According to tradition, if one receives the bread slice with the porcelain doll inside, a year of good fortune awaits.

(This recipe is from Cooking with the Movies: Meals on Reels, part of the chapter on Like Water for Chocolate.)