Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Three Wise Men Pastry (Roscón de Reyes)

In Spain and other Latin American Countries the Christmas period doesn't end until the Epiphany, January 6, the arrival of the three wisemen to see baby Jesus and their offerings of gold, incense and myrrh. The eve of the arrival of the three wise men there are parades all over the country with the three kings riding camels or horses, with mules carrying presents for the children. The major cities televise their parades and children also go to the streets to see Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. After the children have seen them they go home and put their shoes outside on a balcony or inside next to a balcony or window. The next morning when they get up there will be presents next to their shoes.

When I was little we had a big Nativity scene with shepherds, a town, animals, and of course a big star and the three wise men. Every day through Christmas we would move the star and the three kings little by little so they would get closer to Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus until they got there the night of the 5th. It was a very exciting time. The 6th is celebrated with a lunch. Our family tradition since the parade goes by under our balcony is to have the kids leave their shoes in the back patio the night of the 5th while we wait for the three wise men. We eat a light dinner of tapas Once the three kings have passed by, the children go to check if they got any presents and of course they do. So, in our family we receive presents the eve of the Epiphany.

The typical dessert is the "Roscón de Reyes" a circle pastry with candied fruits and dried fruits. Inside is hidden one figure of a king and a fava bean. Whoever gets the king will be blessed the rest of the year and also will get to wear a crown and whoever gets the fava bean will have to pay next the "roscón" next year.


4 Cups flour
7 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
1 Egg to brush the roscón
1 Orange Zest
1 Teaspoon rum
1 Teaspoon orange blossom water
3/4 Cup whole milk
1 Yeast envelope
Pinch of salt

First, in a stand mixer mix the wet ingredients, butter, sugar, eggs, orange zest, rum, orange blossom water, milk and salt. When they are all mixed very well add the flour and keep mixing until there is a nice and smooth dough. Make a ball and let it rest until it doubles in size. Then make a circle and add the fava bean and a little figurine and let it set for another 30 minutes. Then brush the top of the dough with the egg and add the candied fruit and sugar and put in a preheated oven at 350 ˚ F,;   Cook it for about 15 minutes or until the dough turns medium brown.

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