Ana’s note: One of the things I love most about embracing different Latin American holidays is the abundance and creativity of the variety of foods associated with the celebrations. Bread seems to be a common theme in Mexican traditions and it’s never lacking symbolism.
On January 6th — the official last day of the holiday festivities — we celebrate el Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) across Latin America and Spain. In Mexico the tradition includes family and friends gathering to eat a Rosca de Reyes and seeing who will get the piece with the Niño Jesus inside and get the honor to host them all to a feast of tamales on February 2nd for el Día de la Candelaria.
The rosca is always circular because to the Catholics it represents God’s infinite love. The candied fruit and other decorations on the rosca symbolize the earthly distractions that distract us from God and the muñequito buried in the bread is meant to represent the 3 Kings search for the baby Jesus.
To join in the celebration, we asked our The Culture of Food main contributor and food blogger extraordinaire, Ericka Sanchez, to share with us her family’s Rosca de Reyes recipe using ingredients she found at Walmart.
Recipe for a Traditional Rosca de Reyes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
¼ cup milk, room temperature
3 ½ tablespoons (or ½ stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup candied cherries, chopped
¼ candied pineapple, chopped
¼ cup dried figs, chopped
¼ pecans, chopped
¼ cup dark rum
2 tablespoons water
candied orange peel*
candied lime peel*
*If you have a hard time finding candied citrus peel, check out this recipe on Ericka’s blog to make it yourself.
In a small bowl place candied cherries, pineapple, figs and rum. Soak for 20 minutes. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl place flour, yeast, salt, sugar and cinnamon and whisk until all dry ingredients have been combined.
Add egg, butter, vanilla extract, milk, chopped cherries, pineapple, figs and the rum they were soaking in. Mix well with a wooden spoon then knead by hand and form a large dough ball.
Cover the bowl containing dough with plastic wrap, set it in a warm place and let the dough rise for approximately 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit
In a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large tube shape and connect ends. Forming a ring.
Insert plastic baby figurine anywhere in the underside of the dough ring.
In a small bowl mix 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water to make egg wash. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Carefully place dough ring on tray and brush egg wash all over dough.
Decorate with candied cherries and citrus peels.
Bake for 45 minutes or until dough is golden.
If you’re looking for more Rosca de Reyes recipes, you can visit Walmart on Facebook and check out the one they shared.
Disclosure: We are thankful to Walmart for their sponsorship of SpanglishBaby.