Kosher Roscas de Reyes!?

So, today is the Epiphany, a Holy day of obligation for Catholics the world over. While this is an interesting holiday, I am more intrigued by a traditional dessert that is eaten on this day called Roscas de Reyes. Now, this is an interesting fruit bread, and it has a nifty trait. Similar to the fig pudding in England, a small doll of the baby Jesus is baked into it traditionally. Then, whomever finds the doll in their piece of bread throws a party on Feb. 6th! Always nifty to know these things about other faiths and cultures! But, what intrigues me MORE is the bread itself! This is a very delicious bread, and easy to make, as well! And why can’t we be able to explore this delicious treat? Yes! Nothing more Renegade than taking a Catholic dessert and turning it kosher! So, for no other reason other than my own personal glee in making things that no one would ever THINK to make kosher, kosher, let’s get to it!

First, before anything else, we need to make some Candied Fruit. Next we need 1/4 a Cup of the following fruits: figs, oranges, lemon, cherries, & citron. You want to cut the cherries and figs in half, and then peel the other fruit. Scrape the white part off the rinds, then slice them into thin strips. Now that we have the fruit ready, we need to prepare the canding sauce. In a double boiler, stir together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup honey and 1 1/2 cups water and warm it up to 235°F. You can check the temperature with a candy thermometer. Once at the temperature, we’re going to start cooking each fruit one at a time. Using a slotted spoon or a small metal weave basket, lower each batch of fruit into the sauce for 20 minutes, or until mostly clear. Once cooked, set the fruit on paper towels to drain & dry as you candy the next batch. Finally, to finish drying, set ALL the fruit onto a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven or toaster oven at 120°F for the next 24 hours. As with any long baking project, make sure to watch the oven so no accidents happen. Also, if you worry about the possible bitterness of the rinds, then feel free to blanche (dropping food into boiling water briefly) the rinds before cooking in the sauce.

So, now we have our candied fruit! It’s time to make our Roscas de Reyes! We begin with blooming 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast in 5 Tablespoons Warm Sweetened Condensed Milk. After it blooms, we want to combine the following in a large bowl: 3 1/2 Cups Flour; the bloomed yeast; 3/4 Cup Sugar; 7 Eggs; 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted; 1/4 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk; a Pinch of Salt; 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon; 1/2 Teaspoon Aniseed (Optional); 1/2 Cup Raisins; and 1 Teaspoon Vanilla. Knead the dough into a ball, coat lightly with cooking spray, and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise for about 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size. One risen, knead the dough on a floured surface until soft and stretchy. Once like this, we want to form the dough into a ring shape on a greased cookie dish. It’s at this point that the doll would traditionally be hidden into the dough. Now, cover the top of the ring with all the nummy candied fruit bits you made, and let it rise once more until it’s grown back to it’s previous size before being kneaded and shaped. Once risen a final time, give the whole dough an egg wash (1-2 beaten eggs and 2-3 teaspoons water) before sprinkling the top with granulated white sugar (Though Sugar in the Raw is also good!). Bake at 40 minutes at 360°F, then pull out and enjoy!

This is a tasty dessert, and I think many of you will enjoy making it. As it actually uses Citron, it would be a nice treat for after Sukkot! While a traditional Central & South American holiday dish, I do think it’s important to be able to experience and know most foods of the world. So, I hope you all enjoy this recipe! And weather today is Shabbat, a day obligation, or just another day foir you my readers, I hope you all have a wonderful time of it! Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 6, 2007. bread, dessert, recipes, Trayfe-to-Kosher Challenge.

One Comment

  1. Dan replied:

    Irony or ironies, roscas are indeed a Sephardic food. So here, art imitates life! Your efforts to produce a kashrut cake from something claiming to be vdry goyish, turns out not to be very goyish at all, but very Jewish. I’ve eaten my familys’ home made roscas since I was a kid. They were all from Thessaloniki and Monastir, so maybe the origins are Greek or Turkish.

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