The Three Wise Men Will Have To Eat Something
Dreikönigskuchen or Epiphany Cake
Tomorrow is Ephiphany and in Switzerland we celebrate the visit of the three wise men by eating a sweet yeast cake. This ritual dates back to the 14th century, reportedly celebrated by the guilds hiding a bean in one of the buns.
Around its center piece several smaller buns are attached and in one of them a small plastic figurine of a king or queen is hidden. The lucky person who gets it will be king or queen of the day and may order everybody around. As children when we were king or queen we were exempted from drying the dishes (I mean, imagine wearing a crown and drying the dishes at the same time) - those were the days!
And each year we want to be king or queen for the day!
Giovanna of Blue Jelly Beans recently wrote about the Spanish tradition of the roscon de reyes and the intricacies of making a perfect yeast dough. It is her year of experimentation, tackling so far taboo recipes and writing about it and I have the feeling it will be a very funny and great year. Wonderful plan, Giovanna, and you inspire us to follow suit.
Her roscon de reyes also reminded me of our Swiss tradition. Normally we get our Dreikönigskuchen from the local bakery (some years ago, I had one made to order having a figurine in every bun, I do not think it was appreciated by everybody!) but I might bake one myself next year.
I will use the same recipe (maybe I will add some raisins in the dough) as for my now rather infamous Grättimaa or Grättifrau on December 6 to celebrate Santa Claus.
So far the dough has always risen magically and never failed me. I think the most important thing is kneading, kneading and kneading. I delegate this task to my faithful mixer.
Basic Yeast Dough Recipe
1 kg all purpose wheat flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 cube (42 g) fresh yeast
1 TS sugar
100 g butter
ca. 5 dl milk
1 dl fresh cream
1 TS milk or cream
beat yolk, add milk/cream, mix well and coat your creation.
preheat oven to 180° C
Sieve flour into a bowl, make a hollow in the middle and strew sea salt on top of the flour
Put yeast together with sugar in a small non reactive bowl and stir until fluid
Pour it in the flour hollow and mix it with some flour
Melt butter and add first the cold milk, cream and egg. Mix well and then put it in the flour bowl
Knead for at least ten minutes until your dough is smooth and elastic
Cover dough with a cloth and let it rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour (it should be twice the size then)
Knead again, if necessary add some flour
Form your loaf and coat it
As shown in the picture above you might wand to add some sugar and almond slices
Baking time: 30 – 40 minutes on lower rack
Has Mickey been here?
We drink hot cocoa (the bitter version, homemade with very little sugar added to it) but topped with a lot of whipped cream and an extra spoonful of sugar. It is yet time to spoil ourselves silly, the fasting time is approaching and will start after Ash Wednesday or Mardi Gras (depending on where you live) somewhere near the middle of February.
Do you celebrate Epiphany and if yes, what are your culinary delights?
Enjoy the baking experience and share your stories, tips and tricks!