Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fit for a King

Every parent at some time has gotten the 7pm comment, "Oh yeah, Mom - I need to bring a X for my Y class tomorrow," where X represents some random baked good and Y represents some school subject where caloric extra credit is encouraged or a holiday party is scheduled. My challenge: King Cake to accompany my son's presentation in his Spanish class.

As I perused recipes online, I inquired of him why they were celebrating Mardi Gras in January (it's March 4th this year.)  It was convenient he had prepared the presentation already that explained Spanish speaking countries celebrated Día de los reyes magos by eating rosca de reyes on January 6th. I had no idea but am always looking for a good excuse to eat cake! This is actually more of a bread, traditionally in an oval shape and decorated with raisins and other dried fruit.
rosca de reyes

The recipes turned out to be similar enough to my familiar yeasted braided Christmas bread (Tassajara Bread Book) that my Mum had taught me to make when I was hardly big enough to knead dough. She and I both still make it most Christmases. I just made it one layer tall, oval, and added a glaze. His class gets the colorful one in the back.  It's a day late, but I don't think it will dampen their little sugar-craving appetites.

Due to envisioned liability scenarios, we opted to leave out the little baby-shaped trinket that is traditionally baked in the cake. Also for want of owning an appropriate bakeable plastic baby.  I do now, however, have the strong urge to dig up a copy and reread Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major. If you've read it, you know why.

So I learned a bit of history and tradition, I learned that starting at 7pm is way too late to begin baking yeasted breads, and I learned that blue sugar crystals + pink sugar crystals do not remotely look like purple sugar crystals. But I'll be ready with purple for next January 6th.