I think I speak for most Portuguese people, when I say that a Christmas table without Bolo Rei, is just not the same. We owe the delicious cake and tradition to Confeitaria Nacional pastry shop in Lisbon. The owner brought the recipe back to Lisbon, from Paris, in 1870. The, super secret, recipe is under lock and key. It's popularity remains to this day due to the cake's moistness and the use of crystallised fruit without artiicial colours. Bolo Rei traditionally had a fava bean inside and a small toy or token. Whoever found the fava bean would have to pay for next year's Bolo Rei, and who found the toy/token would be showered with luck in the coming year. These were banned by the EU some years back, due to health and safety reasons, but I still put a token in mine. In this case a little ceramic, blue and white, rabbit. It is big enough to not be a choking hazerd for both children and adults. I hope you enjoy this glorious cake as much as I do. Mine does have a cheeky liquor addition, I use Cointreau AND Port wine. It just takes my cake to another level.
Merry Christmas xoxoxo
Portuguese King Cake ❦ Bolo Rei
Makes one cake to serve 6-8
800 g. Plain Flour
200 g. Granulated sugar
160 g. Unsalted butter, melted
40 g. Fresh baker's yeast
100 ml. Warm water
7 Eggs, 6 for cake and 1 beaten
to brush on cake just before baking
50 ml Port wine, cognac or brandy
50 ml. Cointreau
130 g. Crystallised, candied fruit, mixed
125 g. Nuts, variety, such as almonds, pine nuts
50 g. Sultanas
Extra Crystallised fruit to decorate top of cake
1 Orange, Zest from entire orange
1 Lemon, Zest from entire lemon
1 pinch, Salt
Powdered icing sugar to decorate
1 Dry Fava bean, small token like Monopoly piece (optional)
For the glaze
125 g. Apricot jam or preserves
1 tbsp. Water
1. In a large bowl, mix baker's yeast with the 100 ml. of warm water, until dissolved. Add 125g. of the 800g. of flour. Mix and let rest for about 15 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, add your Cointreau and Port wine (cognac or brandy if using in place of Port) and add your candied fruit to macerate.
3. After 15 minutes are up, add remaining flour, macerated fruit and liquors, lemon and orange zests, eggs, butter and salt, to bowl. Work the dough for several minutes until everything is well incorporated. I like to use my hands at this point.
4. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest in a dark warm place for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 12.
5. Pre-heat oven to 180°C, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gather dough into your hands and form a ball. Start to shape it into a large wreath with a hole in centre. Place on baking sheet. Push Fava bean and token into the cake, if using. ( To prevent choking hazards, you could wrap the pieces in parchment paper before hiding and pushing it into dough) although not as attractive. Just be careful! If serving a child, check small child's piece, etc.
6. Brush the cake with the reserved egg, beaten. Decoratively arrange the reserved crystalised fruit and glacé cherries on top.
7. Place cake in pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Meanwhile, for the glaze.
Heat the apricot jam or preserves with the water,
in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve to remove any fruit lumps. Set aside.
9. When cake is done, remove from oven and while still warm, brush entire cake with apricot glaze. This will make it super gorgeous and shiny. Add little mounds of powdered sugar at the clock points, 12,3,6,and 9 to serve, as pictured.
( I used a bit more, LOL )