Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dia Los Reyes...Day of the Maji

Today in the Catholic/Christian celebration of the Epiphany. The day the 3 Magi arrive in Bethlehem. Here in Mexico it is the last day of celebration for the Christmas season. In the olden days this was the day gifts were exchanged. Now most families exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, with a smaller gifts exchanged today. The day is traditionally celebrated with a sweetbread called Rosca and hot chocolate. Here is a great explanation I found on the Mexican Department of Culture website. It's a translated version (google) so it doesn't read very true. Like using the word thread when talking about the pastry :) But you'll get the gist.

The Rosca de Reyes is a crown, which is decorated with nuts and crystallized simulating colored jewels that were embedded in the crowns of the Three Kings which mean Peace, Love and Happiness.

> The hidden child remembers the moment when Joseph and Mary hid the baby Jesus to save him from Herod.The little doll is the little Baby Jesus (frozen Charlies) I used the other day to rust.
> The fact relates to eat the bread of communion with the sacred character of newborn.
> For Christians, the circular shape of the thread symbolizes the eternal love of God, which has no beginning or end.
> The candy or crystallized fruit in the world are distractions that prevent us from finding Jesus.
> The doll hidden inside the thread symbolizes the baby Jesus that kings were not because the star disappeared.
> Various studies say that the origin of the Rosca de Reyes comes from France, where he created a great thread where a bean was hidden inside.
> Today, in France one eats bread is named after galette des Rois or Kings Cake, has a flat shape and puff pastry.
> In Spain is called King cake, made with orange blossom water and decorated with nuts is very similar to the Mexican thread.
> Depending on the size of the thread, is the number of dolls that are entered on the same side and on 6 January afternoon or evening with family.
>It is considered that this practice serves to celebrate the last meeting of the festivities of Christmas and in many countries it is customary to exchange gifts to remember the gifts the three kings gave to BabyJesus.

Traditionally here in Mexico those who are lucky enough to find the baby Jesus in their piece must host a Tamale party on the 2nd of February "Candlemas Day"  which is 40 days after Christmas & the official end of the Christmas season on the christian calendar.
Disclaimer: These pictures are not of our Rosca that LW bought at our neighborhood pastry shop. :( Why you may ask ?? Well before we could get the camera out to take a picture for Pattie to post on her blog Tali ( the large yellow lab decided she was going to be sure she was the one to host the tamale party... yep the rosca met an untimely end when it was pulled off the counter onto the floor. Well it's a lot easier to eat off the floor if you can't hold it in your paws. :)

Now for all you out there that love to collect recipes, here is the recipe for Rosca I found on the Mexconnect Web site. posted by Karen Hursh Graber: 
   Recipe for Rosca

For the dough:
8 1/2 cups flour
8 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups butter
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1.6 oz.(2 3/4 cakes) compressed yeast
For the decorative paste:
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
Crumble the yeast cakes into 1/2 cup warm water (about 85º F.) Mix with all other dough ingredients and beat the batter well until smooth and elastic. On a large baking sheet, shape the dough into a ring, resembling a large wreath. Cover the ring with a clean cloth or towel and let it sit in a warm place for two hours.
     Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350º F. If you'd like to hide the infant in the cake, tuck a miniature plastic doll inside. After the rosca has risen, and before putting it in the oven, prepare the decorative paste by creaming the butter and sugar together, beating in the egg and gradually mixing in the flour. Use this paste to decorate the sweet bread in the form of rays coming out from the center.
  Bake until the rosca is golden brown. Decorate with candied fruit; in Mexico, candied cactus, called biznaga, is used.

Remember to serve it with lovely Mexican Hot Chocolate!! What?? Now you want that recipe too???? The Readers Digest Version is, to make a very good (real) hot chocolate stir in cinnamon and vanilla be sure to use whole milk and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. If you want to long version you can google your fav TV chef and copy theirs.
I'm off to pout now cuz I only got one piece of ours today, and Talli keeps licking her lips telling me how good this years cake was!
Have a most audacious today or tomorrow depending on where in the world you are   p;)


stregata said...

Thanks for sharing this! I loved it. Epiphany is also a holiday in Bavaria (but not gifts) and is celebrated in south Italy, where there apparently is a good witch that brings small presents to the children...

LuLu Kellogg said...

Ooooooo, you are still celebrating!! I couldn't help but laugh at the fur baby lounging on the couch like a Diva!!

Love you BS!

Narrative jewelry said...

I can devine the delicious smell of your cake Pattie, we too in France celebrate the Epiphany by eating the "galette des rois", take a look at my blog and you can see my little Mademoiselle with a part of it and the crown...
Your attempts with patina were great, so interesting !

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Oh, we had those in New Orleans, we call them King Cakes there, too...whoever got the baby had to throw a King Cake party the next week -- on and on it went, very fun, till Mardi Gras...I still have some of the plastic "babies" that were in the cake, and a china one, too...

BTW, did you get my email, all about an amazing package of goodies I received from afar???!!!

SummersStudio said...

This is such an interesting tradition. Tali, looks like a little older version of my Alice. Alice is naughty too. BTW, you can bring on the palm trees any day now. It is freezing cold here and I need some tropical weather. Even if it is only visual.

Cindy said...

No wonder I saw King Cakes for sale here the other day at La Madeline, a french-stye cafe. It thought they only came ouot during Mardi Gras season. I've learned a lot from you! Our priest spoke last weekend about his experiences in Mexico during the Epiphany and the gift-giving you mentioned. I did my share of celebrating with hot chocolate! :-)

TinyBear said...

Hi Patti
Thank you so much for visiting over at my place and for entering my giveaway
Happy New Year
~ Tina

diane said...

Patti....I would love to be there in Mexico with you right about now....eating your cake and drinking Mexican hot chocolate! It has been so cold here....not like Texas at all!
Thank you for sharing this story with us~I loved reading it~

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