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.
Que bonita rosca Ericka! I have to confess I am not a cook but I appreciate your recipes very much. We celebrate Los Reyes Magos every year at my house! Happy new year
Thank you so much Xochitl! Happy New Year!!!
Your bread is beautiful. It makes me so sad my family can no longer eat it (newly diagnosed celiac disease)! We celebrate El Día de los Reyes Magos, but with non-traditional food!
In my research in making this recipe, you can make this with a gluten free flour ( a combination of garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava flour). The taste might be a little bit different but the nuts and fruit soaked in rum give it a good flavor. Happy New Year!
Ok – I’d vaguely heard of this before. But I had no idea what it was all about – But oh man, this looks really good!!
It’s a beautiful tradition Meagan, glad we could share with you Happy 3 Kings Day!
Looks good! I’ve never gotten the baby
Well Meghan, if you get the baby this year, you must invite me to your party for some tamales
What a scrumptious looking recipe – and it doesn’t look too complicated to make! Thank you for the background on the celebration and the recipe. Happy New Year!
Happy New Year Michelle! Enjoy!
This looks delish! Alot of people don’t like “fruit” cake, but I love dried fruit! I’ll have to try this recipe!
It’s very flavorful, a bit different than fruit cake but just as delicious. Hope you like!
Thank you for this! I am trying to bring the traditions my husband celebrated as a child into our home for our children, and wanted to bake this year, but he believed it was difficult; glad to see that it isn’t!!!
Hi Kristina. This is a fun family project! Enjoy!
Do you know where I can buy that candied fruit or citris peels?
If you could give me some store options and in what aisle I could find it in, i would really appreciate that.
Please and thank you.
I had a difficult time finding candied peel as well, so I made my own. I’ve posted a how to here: http://www.nibblesandfeasts.com/2013/01/candied-citrus-peel/ Hope that helps!
I noticed the batter for this rosca is a little thick, is there anyway to make it more cake like, as in more spongey I guess? I wonder if it would taste fine without the rum and candied fruit. I have a very picky mother-in-law and wanted to exclude that part.
You can add a one or two more eggs, if you add more flour, make sure you add a little bit of more milk as it will dry. You can definitely omit the fruit and rum. You can customize it any way you wish
Today is my birthday and i can’t wait to make this to celebrate!!!!
Happy Birthday Jody!
Help,what do ya do with butter,u didnt say an my dough is mixed?
You can add the butter along with the egg and milk step. My apologies, we will make that correction. Happy 3 Kings Day!
The recipe never mentioned when to add the pecans, dried cherries, or butter even though they are in the ingredient list, so I had to guess. I ended up not adding the dried cherries at all since there were already candied cherries in there. Also, after cooking at 350 for 40 minutes (5 minutes earlier than “Done” time), it was already more than golden brown and close to burning. After cooling, it was as hard as a rock and very dry. I made a second one and added a second egg and cooked it on the bottom rack of the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes and it turned out a LOT better.
Your recipe is very helpful!
But where can I get the little plastic dolls??