6 January 2017
I should start by acknowledging the absolute chaos that ensued in the making of this recipe. I won't go too far into specifics, but between lost memory cards, vanished ingredients, an ill-timed police visit and a smashed studio light I managed to get it all done in just over 5 hours.
Now, on to the recipe itself - some of you may be wondering what a Rosca de Reyes is? Truth be told, I'd never heard of it myself until conducting research on Mexican Christmas foods. It's a sweet bread akin to a brioche or panettone that's traditionally baked and eaten on Epiphany, which falls on 6th January (so I'm just in time!). Loosely translated, the name is "three kings' bread".
I'm not going to claim that this is a traditional Rosca de Reyes. It doesn't really look like most of the photos I found around the web in my research, and a few of the ingredients I went for are definitely not traditional. I also left out the part where religious figurines are baked into the bread as I decided it would be disrespectful coming from someone who doesn't follow the faith.
Sorry if anyone is offended anyway, there's nothing I can do about that! ;)
4 1/2 cups plain flour
400g dried fruit
150g unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup caster sugar
7g sachet instant dried yeast
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 egg yolks (extra)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence/paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp imitation saffron powder (optional)
Glace cherries, dried apricots, blanched almonds (for decorating)
Quite the list, eh?
Feel free to use strong white bread flour for this recipe.
In relation to the dried fruits, I used a combination of sultanas, mixed peel, dried cherries, currants and some dried figs and apricots that I cut into cubes. Use whatever you prefer.
The imitation saffron isn't because I was being a cheapskate, I just think that you want the colour without the saffron flavour for this recipe. You could probably get away with any yellow food colouring if you decide not to keep it au naturale.
1. Add the zest and juice of the orange to a saucepan along with the rum. Place over a medium heat until it just begins to simmer, then pour this over the dried fruit, mix together and set aside to soak for 15-20 minutes.
2. Place the butter, milk and vanilla into a saucepan. Warm over a medium heat, stirring, until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and place aside to cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, salt and saffron powder until combined, then make a well in the centre.
4. Add the eggs (including the additional yolks) and cooled milk and butter mixture and mix until you have a sticky dough.
5. Add in the soaked fruit and nuts and mix until dispersed.
6. Scatter some additional flour on your work bench, pour out the dough and top with another scattering of flour.
7. Knead the dough for approx. 10 minutes, it will become less sticky the more you work with it. (You can instead use a benchtop mixer to knead the dough for approx. 5 minutes.)
8. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place into a warm, draft-free area to rise for approx. 2 hours or until doubled in size.
9. Punch the dough to knock the air out, then scatter some more flour onto your bench and give the dough another quick knead (1-2 minutes).
10. Roll the dough into a log, then join the ends together and shape it into a ring. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with some baking paper, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise for another 2 hours. (Now you see why it took over 5 hours!)
11. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
12. Brush the dough ring with some eggwhite (you should have some leftover after using the yolks) and decorate as desired.
13. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked. (It should have a hollow sound when the base is tapped, although this is difficult to test directly from the oven. Just use your best judgment.)
The ring I made would have served 12-24 quite generously. Try it toasted with some butter and jam!
A video of this recipe is available at https://youtu.be/YDo6WsVpVLc.
And that's officially the end of FoodPoint Fiesta! It's been fun for me, so I hope you enjoyed it too. Keep an eye out for updates on the next FoodPoint series!