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On January 6th, Día de los Reyes (Kings’ Day/Epiphany), the Christmas season continues in Mexico with the arrival of the Three Kings bearing gifts. Whereas many gifts at Christmas time may include clothing, Kings’ Day is traditionally the time that children receive toys (particularly in central Mexico). A delicious tradition from Día de los Reyes is the Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread in the shape of a ring with at least one (though usually many more) small plastic figurine tucked inside, representing the baby Jesus. The Rosca is to be shared with friends and family; each person carefully cuts through the bread to see if they get the “plastic doll” and if so they are responsible for having a tamale feast on Feb. 2 (Día de la Candelaria).
Rosca de reyes
For the topping:
Dissolve yeast in warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes or until it starts foaming.
In a small pot warm milk and add sugar, butter, vanilla, anise and rum. Mix until it reaches about 105°F (40°C) (it will be warm to the touch)
Mix milk mixture with yeast mixture and add 3½ cups of flour, one at a time, raisins and 3 eggs. Knead for 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too wet.
Place dough into a bowl and cover. Let it sit until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (175°C)
Turn the dough onto a slightly floured surface and using your palms roll it into a long rope. Shape it into a ring, sealing the ends together
Make an egg wash using 1 egg and 1 tsp of water and brush the bread with it.
In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the topping, mixing them with a fork until they come together. Using an icing knife or bag spread strips of pasta on the bread alternating with candied fruit strips.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes and serve with hot Mexican chocolate (La Abuela chocolate is a good choice!)