From January 4 to 7, the bakers in the village turn their attention to creating roscas de reyes, a traditional sweet bread adorned with conchas, candied figs, nopal cactus and red pepper strips. For three or four days, there will be no other bread to buy. We get our fill of this luscious cake-like treat.
We are lucky. Tenemos muchos milagros. At Las Granadas Bed & Breakfast, Eloisa bakes Rosca de Reyes in her outdoor traditional orno or adobe oven. The oval or round loaves are sweetened, yeasty egg bread.
We see them piled high in the backs of flatbed trucks on their way to the village market. For three or four days there will be no other type of bread for sale. We get our fill of this luscious treat.
Find the tiny white plastic baby Jesus stuffed inside (each baker determines how many s/he will put in each loaf), and you will have the honor of providing tamales and atolé for your entire family on Dia de la Candelaria on February 2, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. [My observation: In Mexico, the magic number seems to be 40. Forty is the gestation time in weeks for women to have a “normal” birth. Traditionally, women stay sequestered for 40 days after birth. Moses and his people wandered the desert for 40 years.]
Recipe for Rosca de Reyes from Inside Mexico! or try any egg bread recipe but only let it rise once. Form the loaf into a circle or oblong shape. Decorate with candied fruits and the concha (the little sugar buns that sit atop the rosca). Don’t forget to stuff it with the little plastic Jesus figure. If you can’t get that, then the fava bean used traditionally before plastic figures were available, will definitely suffice.
We had ours with fresh steamed vegetables: green beans, choyote squash, carrots, along with quesadillas and toasted garbanzo bean soup, washed down with our favorite beer.