Happy Three Kings Day!
When I think about the holidays in Puerto Rico I immediately remember the grass filled shoe box under my bed. I can feel the excitement and the joy I felt the very moment I woke up to see what the Kings left behind. And there it was, my gift and the huge mess los camellos (the camels) left behind! Oy! LOL
I wanted to share a special recipe for such an important part of my childhood and I grabbed Daiys’s Holiday Cooking Delicious Latin Recipes For Effortless Entertaining, and on the very last page is Daisy’s Rosca de Reyes recipe.
Rosca de Reyes
Traditional Sweet Bread For Epiphany – Dia De Reyes
Makes 16 Servings
For The Dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1/ cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
For The Filling:
2 cups almond flour (see Note)
1/ cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange flower water (see Note 2)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 dried bean
For Decorating the Rosca:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
Candied fruit and/or citrus peel, cut into little dice, strips, or any shape you like
Make the dough:
1. Stir the yeast and tablespoons warm water together in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the milk, sugar, butter, and salt together in a small saucepan over low heat just until the milk starts to steam – do not let it scald. Set aside until the temperature returns to about 110 degrees F (slightly warmer than body temperature).
3. Stir the vanilla and yeast mixture into the milk mixture. Beat the eggs lightly in a small mixing bowl, then add the milk mixture to the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Put the 3 1/2 cups flour and the orange and lemon zests into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to low and slowly pour in the egg-milk mixture just until the dough is blended. Do no over-beat; you want a well-incorporated, smooth but still soft dough. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface.
4. Knead the dough gently, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface and your hands, until it is smooth and stretchy, about 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a well-oiled bowl, then flip the ball over so all surfaces are oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot in the kitchen until the dough doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Make the filling:
5. Stir the almond flour, sugar, orange flower water, orange juice, cinnamon, and almond extract together with a fork until the almond flour and sugar are evenly moist.
Shape, decorate, and bake the rosca:
6. Punch down the dough and roll it out on a well-floured surface to a rectangle about 20 by 18 inches with one of the long sides closest to you. Crumble the almond filling over the dough, leaving an uncovered border of about 2 inches long the far side of the rectangle and 1 inch along both shorter edges. Place the bean somewhere over the filling.
7. Starting with the long end closer to you, start to gently roll it up evenly. Pinch the seam firmly back and forth along the length of the roll to seal it. Pinch the ends together to seal them tightly. Gently transfer the ring of dough to an oiled baking sheet.
8. Cover with towel and set aside to rice until doubled in bulk again, 30 to 45 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
10. To decorate, beat the egg and milk together until blended. Brush all sides of the dough with the egg wash. Decorate with sliced almonds, candied fruit, and/or citrus peel (they will stick to the egg wash). Brush the dough and decorations carefully again with the egg wash, the sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake until the rosca is a deep golden brown, and the bottom sounds somewhat hollow when you thump it with your finger, 35 to 40 minutes.
11. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing. (Be sure to warn your guests about the bean!)
Note: Almond flour is finely grounded blanched (i.e. peeled) raw almods. It is available in health food stores and well-stocked groceries, and via the Internet from Bob’s Red Mill (www.bobsredmill.com) Or make your own: Gring whole blanched almonds in a food processor. chill the almonds first and grind in small batches to keep the flour from becoming oily and gummy.
Note 2: Orange flower water is a clearm aromatic liquid distilled from fresh orange blossoms. The best-quality orange flower water can be pricey, but it’s worth it. Look for orange flower water in Middle Eastern, Greek, and Arab groceries and well-stocked supermarkets and specialty food stores.
Serve with cafe con leche for breakfast y buen provecho!