Spain’s classic Christmas cake (really more like a sweetened bread), roscón de reyes is served on Three Kings Day, or El Día de los Reyes Magos. Across Spain, children wait for the kings to arrive bearing gifts. The night before, there is a parade in every village, town and city, with the kings throwing candy into the crowd. Traditionally the children leave out their shoes at bedtime, hoping the Magi will fill them with sweets (naughty children get lumps of coal). The next day, presents are exchanged and families gather to feast and celebrate. Central to the celebration is the roscón de reyes, or Kings’ Cake. A little ceramic figurine or coin is hidden inside, and whoever finds it gets good luck for a year. But if you find the dried bean instead, you must buy the cake the following year!
- 1package dry yeast
- 1tablespoon loose tea leaves
- 1teaspoon grated lemon
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled
- 5cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- candied fruit slices
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sugar crystals
- 1 quart whipping cream
- ¾ cup white sugar
this is text as a sample
Preheat oven to 350° F. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water.
Simmer 1/2 cup of water with tea leaves, lemon rind, and cloves for 10 minutes, covered. Cool. Discard the cloves.
Blend the butter, shortening, sugar and salt. Beat in 2 eggs, then add the brandy, milk, the water-and-lemon mixture and the softened yeast. Mix in the flour gradually with a wooden spoon until a soft and slightly sticky dough is obtained. Knead on a floured working surface, adding more flour as needed, about 5 minutes.
Coat a bowl with vegetable oil and add the dough, rotating to coat with the oil. Cover with a towel, and place in a warm spot to double in size, about 2 hours. Punch down and knead again 5 minutes. Insert a good luck coin or some other item, such as a small ceramic figurine. In another part of the dough, insert a dried fava bean. (Note: these small items could cause a choking hazard. Be sure to warn diners of the inserted items, or exclude if you prefer.)
Shape the dough into a large ring, pinching the ends to seal. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Decorate with candied fruit slices, pushing them slightly into the dough. Let the ring rise in a warm spot about 1 hour, or until double in size. Mix a teaspoon of water with the beaten egg and brush the surface of the dough, sprinkle with the coarse sugar, and bake in a 350° F oven 35-40 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Cool on a rack.
Whip the cream and sugar until thick and fluffy. Cut the roscón in half horizontally, spread the whipped cream on the bottom half, then place the other half on top.