and Tenerife where we had the most amazing sea food and fresh fruit. I discovered a bizarre fruit which looks like a green pineapple but tastes like a banana and the delicious cake called Tarte De Saint Jaques, an almond cake that we couldn't get enough of.
Spain has lots of foodie traditions and christmas is no exception, I always think that embracing different customs can only enhance our own celebrations and they usualy involve food which is always good with me.
Three Kings Day which marks the end of christmas and traditionally the day when children get their presents, takes place 12 days after christmas and celebrates the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus. Rosca De Reyes is customarily eaten on this day, a ring of sweet bread packed with dried and candied fruit which represents a crown worn by the kings. It also has a small doll hidden inside to symbolise jesus hiding from Herod. If you get the slice with the doll, you then host a party for Candlemass on February 2nd, more food, woohoo!
Womersley Foods which gives it a whole different dimension with an added depth of flavour.
500g Strong White Bread Flour
15g Quick Active Yeast
250ml Warm Milk
230g Mixed Fruit
40g Glace Cherries
40g Crystalised Ginger
1 tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tbsp Cherry Vinegar - Optional
20g Flaked Almonds
2 tblsp Honey
First Make the dough. While you warm the milk add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of a freestanding mixer and process till everything is blended. Next add the eggs and mix, then the warmed milk. The milk should be warm not hot. Keep mixing till it comes together as a dough and tip it onto a lightly floured surface to knead. It will be a little stickier than normal bread so harder to knead but it does come together eventually and you will get that lovely warm, smooth stretchy dough you want.
After 8-10 minutes of kneading sprinkle some flour into the bowl and return your dough. Cover with cling film or a disposable shower cap and leave in a warm place to rise for 1hour. It should double in size and fill the bowl. While the dough is rising, mix the filling. Cut the cherries into 1/4's, roughly chop the pistachios and cut the ginger into small pieces. Combine all the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds and honey.
When the dough has risen, on a floured surface roll it out into a large rectangle about 25cm x 75cm and spread the filling mix over it. Using the long edge, roll the whole thing up into a sausage.
Now cut down the middle along the length of it and lay the two pieces next to each other, cut side up. Carefully twist the two pieces together keeping the cut side uppermost.
Gingerly transfer the twined dough onto a baking stone or baking sheet lined with parchment and join the ends together to form a wreath. Lastly, sprinkle on the almonds. Now leave in a warm place to rise again for a further 45-60 minutes.
Sweet dough has a tendency to burn quite easily before it is cooked so tent the dough with foil for the first 15 minutes to avoid this. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 170c
Once it has cooked, transfer to a cooling rack and brush the top with warm honey to give your crown a shiny glaze.
I didn't have the traditional baby to hide but the Jesus from out Playmobil Nativity did the job!
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