Food News

Rosca de Reyes for Three Kings Day

Yesterday was the first working day of the year and many resolutions went into effect. But come 5 p.m. you may decide the "giving up sweets" resolution was no good. Fortunately, just when you thought the holidays were over and there would be no more cookies, cakes or sweets for a while, here comes the sweet sound of Three Kings Day. The twelve days of Christmas begin on Christmas day, December 25, and end on the twelfth night, January 5, making Wednesday the sixth Three Kings Day.

In homes throughout South Florida, families are gearing up for the final day of the holiday season. Here's what you do: On Tuesday night put your old shoes or a box filled with grass or hay under your bed for the camels. Then add a wish list on top for the three kings. In the morning, your shoe or box will be filled with gifts.

If old shoes, cardboard boxes and grass seem like too much work, just dive right in and have some Rosca de Reyes for breakfast -- and hope you get the little figurine hidden inside. It will bring you luck. For now, you can put off that resolution until Thursday.

You can pick up some Rosca de Reyes at Delicas de España in the Gables or try your hand at the recipe from Very Best Baking.

Rosca de Reyes: traditional Three Kings Day Bread

2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup and 1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 cups flour
zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp salt
5 large eggs, beaten. (Reserve 1 for egg wash)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract
a small figurine
candied fruit or fruit strips (figs, oranges, lemon, mango, cherries)
sliced almonds

Bring all but 1 tbsp evaporated milk to a low simmer.  Take off heat and add the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar.  let stand for 10 minutes.

Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, anise seed and salt in a large mixer bowl. Add 4 eggs, butter, yeast mixture and vanilla extract.  Mix together with electric mixer fitted with dough hook or by hand until soft, smooth dough is formed.

Place dough on lightly floured work surface and knead gently for 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place into a large greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 2 hours.

Punch dough down, form a wreath by rolling it into a log shape then bending the ends around to form a circle.  Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet.  Lift up one area and insert figurine by pushing it up through the bottom.  Smooth out lumps on surface and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine reserved egg and reserved tablespoon evaporated milk; brush top with egg wash.  Decorate it with candied fruit, candied strips and almonds by pressing them in slightly.  Brush again with egg wash.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake 3 -35 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Christina Staalstrom