Catholic Recipe: Rosca de Reyes
Also Called: Kings' Bread Ring
Since Twelfth Night concludes the Christmas holidays, people traditionally have marked it with a big party closing the season. The Twelfth Night revels in many countries feature parties, dancing, and feasting. At the feasts, people often eat a special bread or cake with a bean, coin, or figurine baked in it. The person getting the piece with the good luck token becomes the Twelfth Night King or Queen, leading revelers in their merrymaking.
The holiday also carries solemn religious overtones. It is one of the three major Christian holidays, along with Christmas and Easter. The name Twelfth Night simply reflects its occurrence twelve days after Christmas. But in some places it is known as Feast of the Three Kings because the Three Kings (also known as Wise Men or Magi) are believed to have reached the Christ Child on January 6. And, with emphasis on the religious character of the occasion, Epiphany notes that the holiday marks a special revelation of Jesus's divine nature - the arrival of the three Magi as the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles.
Brighten your Twelfth Night as Mexicans do, with this bread. They say the person whose piece contains an enclosed coin or little doll must give a party on Candlemas Day - February 2.
1. Soak orange peel in rum about 30 minutes. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt to warm (105-115 degrees).
3. Add 11/2 cups flour, eggs, yeast mixture, and the rum-soaked orange peel. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth - about 10 minutes.
5. Here you insert coin or doll if desired. (Just warn your guests!) Roll dough into long rope. Shape into a ring and seal ends together. Place on greased baking sheet.
6. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 1 hour.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 35-45 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.
8. Frost with icing and, if desired, decorate with candied cherries or orange peel.Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982