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Rosca de Reyes



Mexican Rosca de Reyes (ring of kings) looks like a big round or oval shaped doughnut decorated with colourful winter fruit and that wonderful sweet pastry dough that is also used to decorate conchas (shell shaped pastries). This sweet bread is eaten with Mexican hot chocolate at family gatherings, on the 6th of January to celebrate Epiphany. Baked inside the dough, traditionally, is a toy to represent baby Jesus. Whoever is served the toy is blessed and has the honour of hosting a party on Candlemas day on February the 2nd which involves tamales!


Our recipe uses the same yeasted dough as the Pan de Muerto bread, so it is buttery and rich. However unlike the Pan de Muerto which is flavoured with aniseed and orange blossom water, we have flavoured the Rosca de Reyes dough with orange zest to compliment the dried fruits that are used as decorations. You can decorate your sweet bread with any dried or candied fruits that you can find in your shops.

We bought candied whole citrus peel and angelica from and membrillo (quince paste) that is in a rectangular tub so it can be sliced into strips from our local Spanish shop

To prevent a possible choking hazard, we have substituted the plastic toy with a glaze cherry or you could use a square of the membrillo. It is easier to see and tastes better! If the cherry is sliced in two, then both people receiving cherry must host the tamal party jointly.

Making the Dough

  • Weigh the first 4 ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer, attach the paddle and turn on low to combine.
  • Add the next 4 ingredients, weighing out the eggs, starting on low speed until combined with no dry spots, it will look like a shaggy mess.
  • Replace the paddle with a dough hook and on medium speed knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic and coming away from the sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes.
  • Start adding the butter in about 4 increments, mix very well after each addition until thoroughly amalgamated.
  • Remove the dough from the mixer bowl to an oiled or buttered plastic container with a lid, cover and place in the fridge over night.
  • Remove from fridge and on slightly floured surface roll the dough into a thick tube 55cm long, this is easiest when still chilled. 
  • Join the 2 ends to make a circle or oval, making sure that there are no seams. (not easy).
  • Insert 1 cherry or cube of membrillo (quince paste) into the dough from the bottom of the ring. 
  • Place the ring on a lightly floured parchment paper on a baking sheet, stretch it a bit to make sure the circle will still be there after it has risen and baked.
  • Cover with oiled cling film and allow to rise for 3-4 hours or until larger looking and voluminous.

Decorating Dough

  • With an egg beater mix the Trex and icing sugar in a bowl until creamy and light, then add the flour and egg yolk, and mixing until it becomes a very soft dough. Cover and reserve.
  • Take 4 x 30g pieces of the dough and roll into a rope 12cm long.
  • On a lightly floured surface, lightly press each rope to flatten it so it is about 1cm thick. 
  • Cover and reserve. You will have lots of this dough left over, it can be used for making conchas

Making Rosca De Reyes

  • When the dough has risen preheat the oven to 180oC (160oC Fan). 
  • Brush the ring with the egg and milk wash, twice, then decorate you the loaf dough with the dried fruits, membrillo and decorating dough. 
  • Sprinkle with sugar and place in hot oven, for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. 
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the parchment and place on wire rack to complete cooling.
  • Slice into wedges and serve with Mexican hot chocolate