Rosca de Reyes is a special Mexican bread shaped like a ring that is eaten onthe night of January 6th. It is decorated with colorful candied fruit and has a small figurine of baby Jesus inside. When you share the Rosca with family and friends, whoever finds the baby Jesus in their piece must host a special dinner on February 2nd to celebrate the day of the Candles. Finding the baby Jesus is also a symbol of good fortune for the upcoming year!
For the Dough
- 4 ⅛ cups bread flour
- 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast
- 1 teaspoons fine salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 4 teaspoons orange extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
For the Decoration Paste
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
For the Decoration
- large egg, for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling
- 4 red glace cherries
- 4 green glace cherries
- 6 narrow slices of guava paste
Make the Dough
- Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast, then mix in with a fork.
- Add the sugar, unsalted butter, eggs, orange zest, orange extract, and some of the milk. Mix until a dough forms, then gradually add the rest of the milk to get a slightly sticky texture.
- Knead it on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes, until it is smooth and no longer as sticky.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place until it’s nearly doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Shape the Rosca
- Punch the dough down, then shape it into a circle. Use floured fingers to poke a hole in the center and shape into a ring.
- Place the ring on a large parchment-lined cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to prove in a warm place until springy to the touch, about 45 minutes.
- While the Rosca is proving, beat the softened butter and sifted icing sugar together until smooth. Add the flour and egg yolk and beat until a paste forms. Shape the mixture into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then chill for 20-30 minutes.
- Divide the paste into six equal pieces, then shape each piece into a rectangular strip. You’ll use these to decorate the Rosca later.
Decorate & Bake
- Set the oven to 400°F about 10-15 minutes before the Rosca is done proving.
- Once the dough is springy to the touch, brush it with beaten egg and arrange the cherries, guava paste strips, and paste strips on top. Sprinkle it with the sugar.
- Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 375°F and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden brown. The bread should have an internal temperature of 190°F on a meat thermometer.
- Let the Rosca cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer on a wire rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes. Insert the plastic baby from the bottom of the Rosca once it has cooled.
- Let each guest cut their own slice. Enjoy with Abuelita, a type of Mexican hot chocolate.