King's Day Pastry
La Rosca de Reyes o Roscon, as it is also called is a rich egg sweet bread-pastry that traditionally is eaten in Spain and Latin American countries commemorating the King's Day, or the 3 wise men visiting baby Jesus. It is traditionally decorated with fruit and a little baby toy might be put inside, other toys are put in different countries. Living here in England, I have had the need or recreating moments of family and warmth that we had surounded by beloved ones. Rosca de Reyes with a thick Mexican style hot chocolate is just the perfect moment to have with family and friends. For many years I have done different recipes of Rosca and invite friends over my home. Some of them good, others not that good, but still we ate them. As it is a bread rich in egg yolks, it takes long time to rise and therefore, if not patient might not come as perfect. I have experimented over recipes, more eggs, less eggs, but putting less eggs makes such special bread more like the others, it looses its beauty in taste and colour. Later on, I learnt to use condensed milk which was a big discovery when making sweet breads, because it just gives the perfect sweetness needed and the bread last for longer time soft.
To prepare the Rosca de Reyes, you must bare in mind 2 very important realities: 1) that it is a difficult dough and needs a lot of patience and 2) that takes a lot of time!!! but the end product is always very satisfying (if done well) and if you manage to handle it, it is something you would like to do every year! You need to prepare yourself one day before with ingredients, and depending on if you like it to be ready by the morning, afternoon or evening you might need to begin one night before or even earlier.
4 yolks (all eggs must be room temperature)
1 can Condensed Milk
200 gr. Strong Flour
1 tbsp instant yeast or 30gr. fresh yeast
You can begin one night before going to sleep, put all ingredients on a bowl and mix a well and let them rest for around 2-4 hrs or over night to use them the next day. If over night, leave them in the fridge and take them out next day waiting for them to be on room temperature before being used.
300 gr. Strong Flour
100 gr. Butter (butter must be room temperature)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 baking powder
Shaping The Rosca
1/4 baking powder
Now! get ready to knead the dough for a long time!!!!! First add the butter to the mother dough, cut in squares, fix it little by little. Then, add the salt and vanilla, mix them well. And finally begin to add the rest of the flour little by little. If you have a kneeling machine, then use it, it will help you not to get too tired. We want to avoid adding more flour, it doesn't matter how sticky it feels you must just concentrate in keeping kneading the dough. The end consistency should be still a bit sticky, but it seems to kind of look soft and seems to make your hands cleaner from the dough, even the surface. Once the dough has the correct consistency, you add slightly a little bit of flour just to fold it a couple of times, put it on a clay or plastic bowl and let it rest for 3-4 hrs.
If you began one day before, you can let the dough rest in the fridge over the night only to be used next day after the dough is at room temperature and be ready to be shaped.
Shaping The Rosca
with a little bi of flour on the surface, open the dough forming an oval shape, then rolled to create a midium size tube but long too. Then one side should be made thinner and the other side must be opened to put the thin side inside and be able to close the circle creating either a round or oval shape. Put on the tray that you intent to cook it on, either with grease paper or oil on it. Let it rest for 3-4 hrs. The raising of this dough is very slow, so you should not worry about how slow it feels. It is recommended for it to be on a warm place, near the heater or sunshine. Anothr way of doing it is by having it ready in the night and place it in the fridge to raise over night. Then take it out in the morning and leave it until it reaches room temperature before placing it in the oven. This process will garantee a very soft bread!!!
Before putting it in the oven, brush it with the mixture of egg yolk and a bit of milk. Then decorate with the crumble, crushed almonds, or walnuts, and the candied fruit. This is the best time to prepare them is when the dough is raising!
100 gr. vegetable fat
100 gr. Plain Flour
100 gr. Sugar
Mix the mixture until you make the crumble, you can add it to the bread as crumble or by bringing it together, you can make a thin biscuit.
You can buy ready candied fruit from the supermarket, usually they will be on the area for baking or Chritsmass specialities, but I like to make my own, I like to use apples, oranges, cherries o the fruit you like.. and caster sugar.
To cook the apples, peel and cut 2 apples in little squares. On a pan put some little butter and the apples with around one table spoon of sugar and a bit of cinnamon and let them cook until soft and the water has been absorbed.
For the oranges , peel an orange, and cut the peel in very thin slices, cutting the white bit as much as possible. Once the peel is ready, put on a pan with a bit of butter and cook with the juice of the orange and around 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar, and here you can add the cherries cut in halves. let them cook until all liquid has been absorbed and the orange peel looks bright in colour. It should look a bit sticky!
Decorate the Rosca at your liking, adding the fruit, walnuts, or crashed almonds, sweet crumble etc...
Cooking the Rosca
Before putting it into the oven, you may want to put under the bread a coin, or kidney bean, a ring, or if you find, a baby toy. The tradition is tht who ever has the baby in their pice of bread, will invite everyone over for food (tamales and atolito in Mexico) in the Day of the Candelaria. Into the oven it goes for around 45 min. to 1 hour depending on the oven at 150 degrees placed in the middle of it. It should look golden in colour. Enjoy!