Just when you think the tamal season and tasty posada treats are over, January 6th comes along. Dia de Los Santos Reyes or Three Kings Day, when in many Mexicans families Christmas gifts are exchanged in the accordance of the three wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus. One of the most traditional foods related to this special holiday is the rosca de reyes or three kings bread. It’s a lightly sweetened yeast dough bread decorated with distinct ingredients and colors. It is supposed to resemble a crown.
Unfortunately for me, the traditional decorations are not available where I live. But, if you know anything about me, that is not going to stop me from getting creative and improvising my own version. The tradition goes that the person who gets the baby Jesus in there slice of rosca has to host a party which should include tamales and atole on February 2nd, dia de la candelaria. For my version of rosca de reyes, I simply used my pan de muerto(day of the dead) bread recipe and shaped it and decorated to resemble a crown with fine jewels. I used my stand mixer to prepare the dough, but it most certainly could be prepared by hand. Bring on the tamales! #roscadereyes
Is It A Rosca Or Is It A Concha? Rosca Concha!
When you are limited to specialty ingredients, you do what you have to do to get the job done! I cut the ingredients in half from the original rosca recipe below and again added a simple concha topping.
I love everything traditional, but I also like being creative and showing my individuality! The pictures and video that follow are some variations on decorating your rosca. I simply prepare the concha topping and have fun with the decorations on top. After decorating with concha topping, I sprinkled with granulated sugar and then a little colored sugar. Bake as directed. This recipe yields an extra large rosca! I sometimes will prepare two smaller ones.
The Ultimate Concha!!
Take your concha topping and make a ring around the rosca. Add candied pineapple bits and candied cherries! I don’t have any photos, but I filled this rosca with the pineapple filling for empanadas and shredded coconut! Oh Boy!
Let the bread cool completely before storing in an airtight plastice storage bag.
Sorry I could not share any pictures of the preparing of the rosca. I intended on sharing a video, but didn’t have time to piece it together. Next time!
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water 110-115 degrees F
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
- 3 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
You Will Also Need
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup of fruit cake mix with cherries
- 1/4 cup toasted almond slices
- *parchment paper
- In a large measuring cup, combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 c warm water. Stir gently until mostly combined and let sit for 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer combine the flour , sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the paddle attachment.
- While the mixer is on low speed, add the eggs, water/yeast mix, vanilla, milk and the butter. Mix at medium speed until the dough comes together, but still sticky.
- Continue mixing, switching to the hook attachment when the dough becomes thick. Total mixing time could take up to 25 minutes. You want to build the gluten in the dough and have it become elastic. You want to resist adding more flour.
- Once dough pulls away from the sides of the stand mixer bowl, transfer to a greased bowl and lightly coat the surface of dough. Cover bowl and let proof in a warm spot for 60-90 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
- Once dough proofs, transfer to a flat surface and knead gently for a few seconds. Divide the dough into three equal dough balls. Each should weigh about 15.4 ounces.
- Working as quick as you can, roll each sections of the dough on a lightly floured surface into a long and narrow shape, about 24 inches long by 4-5 inches wide. Down the middle of each section of dough rolled out, sprinkle in some the fruit cake mix(not the cherries). If using the plastic baby Jesus, you can tuck him into one of the sections. Fold and roll sections as tight as you can.
- Once you have the three sections filled and rolled, carefully braid them together and connect the ends as best that you can. Place onto parchment lined baking sheet. In the center, place an ovenproof bowl that has been greased in the center of ring. Cover and let proof for 45-60 minutes longer.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. After the dough proofs for the second time, brush the entire surface with eggwash. Place 8 cherries firmly into the dough and around the rosca ring. Sprinkle some of the fruit cake mix around evenly over the top. Srinkle on some toasted almonds.
- Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Internal temperature of bread should be at least 190 degrees.
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