On January 5th and 6th, families in Spain eat the traditional Roscón de Reyes, a bun decorated with candied fruits and two surprises inside. Do you want to discover what’s hidden within this delicious dessert? Well, you’ll have to keep reading! Traditional Culture
History of the Roscón de Reyes
This Spanish tradition is linked to Catholicism and dates back to the times of the Romans. In Roman times a sweet was prepared to celebrate the end of the harvest season. During which a bean was put inside the dessert, and whoever found it would be lucky throughout the year. While this tradition has been preserved as the centuries have passed, it was not until the 18th century, under the reign of Louis XV of France, that this unique custom became much more popular. In the King’s court, this tradition was innovated, and instead of a bean put in the bread, it was replaced with something much more valuable. Instead, a gold coin could be found by one of those who enjoyed it.
Roscón de Reyes Today
Not long after it became a popular tradition in France, it crossed the border into Spain and has remained an annual custom. While you won’t see a gold coin in the Roscón de Reyes anymore, it has been replaced by a wizard king figure while keeping the original tradition of placing a bean inside. In Spain, the tradition says that whoever encounters the figurine will be lucky for a year and whoever finds the bean must pay the Roscón de Reyes. As an added bonus for the person who finds the wizard king, they get to put on a cardboard crown placed inside a hole in the bun.
Roscón de Reyes Recipe
Now that you know a little more about the history of this special Christmas delight, you can be a part of this beautiful tradition by cooking your own. So, here is the recipe for the Roscón de Reyes:
- Strong flour
- Compressed baker’s yeast
- 3 medium eggs
- Lemon zest
- Vanilla essence
- Aged rum
- 2 eggs
- 100g of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of water
- Candied fruit
Steps for cooking Roscón de Reyes
1. Dough Preparation
In a small bowl, add 100ml of warm milk and mix it with 12.5g of baker’s yeast and a teaspoon of sugar.
Then, place 150g flour in another container and leave a hole in the center to pour the milk and yeast mixture.
Knead the flour well, make a ball, and mark it with an x at the top
Leave the ball in a bowl with warm water for about 10 minutes. In this time, the ball should have increased in size by two.
Set it aside
2. Make the Second Dough
Once you have finished the first dough, leave it aside and continue with the rest of the ingredients. Next, in a large bowl, sift 500g flour.
In another bowl, mix three eggs with 200g of sugar. Add a little lemon zest, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of aged rum. Beat the mixture.
Mix 100ml of warm milk and 25g of baker’s yeast in another bowl. Once this mixture is ready, add the eggs that were mixed before. We can gradually add the sifted flour and then 100g of butter at the end.
Finally, once this mixture is finished, add the first dough prepared and knead it for 5 minutes.
3. Final Kneading of the Roscón de Reyes
In the kitchen, choose an area where you will knead the dough. Remember to add a little flour, so the dough does not stick together and a little bit of flour on your hands. Once you’re ready, begin to knead the dough. When you are done kneading, roll the dough into a ball once again and place it in a bowl with some flour.
Cover the dough and leave it to ferment for 3 hours. While you wait, it should double in size, but if it doesn’t, let it rest for a little more time.
When it’s ready, shape it into a roscón while leaving a large hole in the middle.
Once it’s shaped, carefully place the wizard king and bean into the dough.
Next, place the dough on a piece of parchment paper in a baking tray, cover it with a cloth, and let it rest for 2 more hours so that it doubles in size again.
4. Decorating the Roscón and Baking
Once the dough has fermented, it’s time to prepare to ensure that the roscón is beautiful when it comes out of the oven. For the top to have a golden color, you will have to beat an egg with a few drops of milk and then lightly brush it onto the roscón. This will help it get the characteristic color it’s known for.
For decoration, damp a little sugar to make it more compact and place it on top as a decoration. Finally, you can decorate the top with whatever you like the most. Although, the traditional Roscón de Reyes is decorated with candied fruit.
Our recipe is for a traditional Roscón de Reyes, but you can fill it with cream if you like.
Once all of the little details are completed, and the decorations look amazing, we proceed to bake it. Ensure that the oven is preheated to 200º before placing it inside in an up and down position. Once the roscón is inside, close the door and lower the temperature to 180º, leaving it inside for 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on it while it’s inside. Depending on your oven, the roscón may cook a bit slower or faster than 20 minutes.
Now that your Roscón de Reyes is ready to enjoy; dig in! We hope that you were the lucky one who found the figurine and not the bean.