The rosca de reyes is a festive Mexican sweet bread ring filled with dried cherries and almonds and eaten specially on El Dia de Reyes in January. Traditionally cooked with a ceramic doll (representing baby Jesus) hidden inside, the person to find the doll is assigned to host a party on El Dia de la Candelaria in February.






Skill level

Average: 4.3 (6 votes)


  • 1 tbsp mixed peel, plus extra, to decorate
  • 30 g dried apricots, chopped, plus extra, to decorate
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 450 g (3 cups) plain flour
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
  • 2 x 7 g sachets dried yeast
  • 7 eggs, 5 separated
  • ½ tsp ground aniseed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted
  • dried cherries, blanched almonds and white sugar, to decorate

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 2 hours
Soaking time
2 hours
Drink match
Coffee liquer, like Patron XO Cafe ($80, 750 ml).

Combine mixed peel, apricots and rum in a bowl and stand for 2½ hours.

Meanwhile, place half the flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp extra sugar, yeast, 2 eggs and 80 ml (⅓ cup) water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until dough doubles in size.

Return dough to bowl of electric mixer, add remaining flour, sugar, 4 egg yolks, spices, orange-blossom water and 2 tbsp water, and mix on low–medium speed until a sticky dough forms. Reserve 1 tbsp butter, then add remaining butter to dough mixture and mix to combine. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. Return dough to bowl, drain fruit from rum and add to bowl, then mix on low speed until just combined.

Lightly dust work surface with more flour and turn out dough. Shape into a ring and, if using a doll, press it into dough through the base. Place on a lined oven tray, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 3 hours or until dough almost doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly beat remaining egg yolk and brush over dough. Decorate with extra peel, apricots, cherries and almonds, pressing lightly into dough. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven, brush with reserved butter, sprinkle over sugar and bake for a further 5 minutes or until sugar has just crystallised. Cool, then serve.


• Orange-blossom water or orange-flower water is available from specialist and Middle Eastern food shops, and selected supermarkets.



Photography by John Laurie.


As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.