Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy Three Kings Day, Mi Gente!


Growing up in El Barrio, my family never really celebrated Three kings Day, instead we got our presents on Noche Buena, which is Christmas Eve.

But now as an adult, I do feel compelled to share my cultural traditions and my past with those who don't know lest we forget.

Mami often told us tales of her shoebox stuffed with hay for the Reyes who would bring her trinkets and candies one Three Kings Day and if I close my eyes I can almost see the little girl she once was; long, fine black hair, translucent skin, flimsy cotton bata, bare feet, coquis singing and night-blooming flower perfumed air, she peeks under her cot to make sure her shoebox is still there and twist and turns from excitement at the prospect of camels and magic, wisemen coming all the way from Jerusalem to her little town, Ponce, Puerto Rico.


Read more about the Hispanic traditions of Three Kings Day:

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art39085.asp







And, while this weekend I will be in Bahamas, for a much needed R&R trip & my boyfriend's Birthday, I wish you all a happy and magical Three Kings Day and even found a recipe for Rosca de Reyes, a Mexican sweetbread holiday treat.

The Bimbo cookie company is now selling the treat too:
http://www.hispanicprwire.com/news.php?l=in&id=7791&cha=4

But here is the recipe for my foodies:

ROSCA DE REYES

Courtesy of Rocio Diaz Patino

While Rosca de Reyes is always made on Epiphany, many families make it for other special occasions as well.

Ingredients:

Bread
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 to 4 cups unbleached flour, divided
1/4 pound (1 cube) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 cups of the fruit and nuts, chopped, such as citron, dried figs, candied cherries, raisins, nuts, or prunes
Small porcelain doll (optional)
Pasta
1 hand-full butter
2 hands-full flour
1 hand-full sugar
1 egg yolk
Alternate Topping
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
Additional fruits for decorating bread

Instructions:

Combine the yeast with the water and add 1/2 cup of flour. Mix well and gather into a ball. Allow the mixture to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, salt, and vanilla together.

Gradually add the yeast mixture and candied fruits. Add the remaining flour a little at a time. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ring or braid or twist bread, shape into a ring, and place on a greased baking sheet. If you want to include the doll, now’s the time to tuck it into the wreath of bread. Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until double in size.

Mix the pasta with a fork until smooth. Paint the pasta over the bread with a brush or knife. Adorn the bread with additional candied cherries or almonds if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned. Remove and cool slightly.
Alternate topping: Combine the cream and sugar and mix to form a thick icing. Spread over the cooled ring, allowing it to drip down the sides. Garnish with the candied fruit.

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