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In Spain, and especially in Mexico, a Rosca de Reyes is served for the traditional merienda on Three Kings Day, January 6, along with chocolate caliente. The rosca (round or oval ring of bread) is baked with a special surprise inside: a small porcelain figurine that represented the Infant Jesus (today a dried bean can be substituted).
Original reipce makes 2 dozen Change Servings
RESERVE 1 tablespoon evaporated milk to use in egg wash; refrigerate. Heat remaining evaporated milk in small glass measure to a temperature of 110º to 115º F. Stir in the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes.
COMBINE flour, 3/4 cup sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, anise seed and salt in large mixer bowl. Add 4 eggs, butter, yeast mixture and vanilla extract. Mix together with electric mixer fitted with dough hook or by hand until soft, smooth dough is formed.
PLACE dough on lightly floured surface; knead gently for about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in large greased bowl; turn over. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
PUNCH dough down. Form the wreath by rolling it into a log shape then bending the ends around to form a circle (a 12-inch round skillet could be used as a guide for circle). Place on large, lightly greased baking sheet. Lift up one area and insert the figurine or bean that has been wrapped in wax paper by pushing it up through the bottom. Smooth out lumps or tears from surface of dough. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise in warm place for another 45 minutes until almost doubled in size.
PREHEAT oven to 350º F.
COMBINE reserved egg and reserved tablespoon evaporated milk; brush top with egg wash. Decorate it with candied fruit, candied strips and almonds by pressing them in slightly. Brush again with egg wash. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
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