|Los Reyes Magos: Melchor, Gaspar & Baltazar|
My son Jack (in the red robe) with his two friends
Tomorrow (January 6th), is El Dia de los Reyes Magos (3 Kings Day). In some parts of Mexico, El Dia de Reyes is an even bigger gift-giving holiday than Christmas. And like Christmas, the celebration starts the night before. The entire family gathers together at my suegra's house for Mexican Hot Chocolate and Rosca de Reyes. (For more about how my family celebrates this holiday read Three Kings & a Full House and watch the fun family video.)
Rosca de Reyes (King Cake/Bread) is a traditional pastry served just for this holiday. It's an orange-flavored, wreath shaped loaf, decorated with dried and candied fruits to resemble a king's crown. Tucked away inside each Rosca de Reyes, is a plastic or porcelain figure of El Niño Dios (the Christ child). The hidden figurine is symbolic of when the Baby Jesus was hidden from Herod's decree to kill all male babies.
The real fun is watching to see who will find the Niño Dios hidden in their slice of Rosca. A Rosca de Reyes can have anywhere from 1 to 5 figurines. Most have about 3. We order ours with extra monitos (dolls/figurines).
Whoever finds El Niño Dios in their slice of Rosca has to provide the tamales for the celebration on El Dia de la Candelaria on February 2nd. It's also believed that whoever finds El Niño Dios will be blessed all year long.
|Not bad for my first Rosca de Reyes!|
Rosca de Reyes
(Dough recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Candied Citrus Peel
- Dried Fruits
- 1 to 3 Plastic Niño Dios figurines
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sponge ingredients (water, sugar, yeast and flour) and mix well. Cover and let set for about 10 minutes or until the yeast has bubbled.
Add the dough ingredients to the sponge. Mix by hand, just until the dough forms a ball. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn dough greased side up. Cover and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Divide the dough in two. Shape one half of the dough in to a circle. Cut a slash into the center of the circle. Carefully stretch and shape the dough into a oval and place in a lightly greased 11 x 15-inch baking sheet. Cover and let rise another 30 to 60 minutes. (The only thing I recommend is not stretching it so far that it touches the edges of the pan, because the dough is still going to expand.)
Tuck the Niño Dios figurines into the Rosca, making sure to cover completely. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Prepare the Sugar Topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, butter and vanilla until it forms a dough. Divide the sugar topping into 6 to 8 pieces, depending on the size of your Rosca.
Decorate the Rosca with Sugar Topping, Candied Citrus Peel and/or Dried Fruits and pecans. (Note: Learn from my mistake. Just place the sugar topping on top of the Rosca, because it will melt down the sides in the oven. I didn't do that and had to scrape burnt sugar topping off the baking sheet.)
Bake the Rosca at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve with Mexican Hot Chocolate or Atole. Enjoy!!! (I only used half of the dough, but I'd recommend using all of it for a bigger Rosca.)
Remember: whoever finds the Niño Dios in their slice of Rosca, has to provide the tamales for the El Dia de la Candelaria (February 2nd.) Looks like I'll be making tamales very soon!