Dia de Los Reyes (King’s Day)

Have you ever celebrated Dia de Los Reyes and eaten Rosca de Reyes (King’s Cake)? I am ashamed to admit I have never celebrated this holiday nor have I ever purchased or let alone made Rosca de Reyes. I feel like such an unworthy “Mexicana”. I wasn’t born in Mexico, but still feel very Mexican. My grandma who was born in Chihuahua shared so many wonderful memories, stories, and traditions with us, but for some reason never shared the details of this holiday with us. Maybe she never celebrated it to this extent while she lived in Mexico? Now that I know the history behind this special day I’d like to incorporate, yet another Mexican tradition, with my immediate family.

While on this journey of exploring Mexican cuisine we have come across so many amazing Mexican traditions and recipes — Makes me wish we lived in Mexico to really embrace it all firsthand. My sister and I have determined that Mexicans have a love affair with food and this holiday is another perfect example of it.

Dia de Los Reyes is celebrated on January 6thto honor the Three Wise Men. Children receive the majority of their gifts from the Three Kings rather than from Santa Claus at Christmas. Before going to bed the children place their old shoes with a wish list on top for the Three Kings. In the morning the shoes are filled with toys and gifts from the Three Kings. They must have big feet in Mexico. Isn’t that just adorable? When I told my daughter about this tradition she was very excited to have another opportunity to receive gifts. She is working on her wish list as I type.

The Rosca de Reyes is a ring-shaped Mexican bread. I’ve read it’s similar to fruitcake, but tastier. I’m one of the few people out there who loves fruitcake so this bread intrigues me even more. A tiny plastic baby doll is baked inside the bread, representing baby Jesus. Hiding the baby symbolizes the hiding of the infant Jesus from King Herod’s troops.

Tradition dictates that whoever receives the slice of rosca with the baby Jesus in it, is obligated to having a dinner party on February 2nd, Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day) where tamales and atole are served.

I was up late last night trying to find the perfect Rosca de Reyes recipe to make for my family, but there are so many variations, I decided to share some of my favorites with you. I will let you decide which one you would like to make for your familia.

Do you all remember Kathleen? She won our recipe contest for her grilled nopal with carrot, jícama, and beet salad recipe. Well this talented chica caught my eye again with her Mini of Rosca de Reyes Frangipane recipe. I love the idea of mini roscas and the frangipane spread made with almonds and rum. It made my eyes twinkle and my tummy growl. YUM!

Another recipe that got my attention was Ingrid Hoffmann’s simple version. I’m very visual and I am happy that I found a video recipe. I also found an English version of it here. If you are reading this at work (tisk, tisk) and are blocked from videos, check out the written recipe here.

But I have to say my absolute favorite looking recipe is this one on guiacongusto. Doesn’t it just make your mouth water? Maybe it’s just me, but it looks so moist, and gooey, and all those raisins…WOW. I could not find the recipe for this Rosca de Reyes on their website, but it gives me an idea of how I plan to make my own. I plan to make mine look like this (hopefully) with the addition of dates and walnuts, drizzled with cajeta and topped with some candied figs.

It looks like I will be busy in the test kitchen this weekend coming up with a Muy Bueno version for my familia and yours. Although the recipe will come after Dia de Los Reyes I’m excited about sharing my findings. Better late than never, right?

Do you celebrate Dia de Los Reyes? We’d love to hear how you celebrate or hear from you about your memories.

Feliz Dia de Los Reyes!

Pssst…don’t forget to order the 2011 Muy Bueno Calendar here.