Just one last Christmas cake recipe...

The husband and I have been debating when one should take the tree down, opinions differ to say the least. We looked it up on the web which only served to furnish our argument with yet more contradiction. Some say today and others tomorrow, our family tradition was always to take down the tree after the celebration of the Epiphany. It is clearly a widespread Catholic custom so that is what we're sticking with this year, I'm just happy to have the Christmas lights provide their warm glow for one more night.  They bring their glittering sparkle to the dark wintry lights, cheering you up when it's grim and cold outside.

Another custom that we Portuguese have on the 6th is to eat Bolo Rei which is a delicious round cake filled with dried fruits, walnuts, pine nuts and hidden amongst the cake is a dried broad bean, said to bring you luck for a year if you happen to bite in to it. Also whoever gets the broad bean has to buy or make the cake the following year. Much like the French Galette Des Rois which is perhaps better known in the UK. My Mother sent me a surprise Bolo Rei in the post this year, so I didn't make it myself but here is a recipe as it is a good way of using up all that dried fruit and peel left over from Christmas.

Ingredients for the dough:

1 kg flour
100 g sugar
200 g unsalted butter
5 eggs
50 g yeast
2 cl port
250 ml milk
1 teaspoon salt
50 g candied orange/Lemon peel (or whatever you have lying around really)
50 g of ground pine nuts
50 g ground walnuts
100 g raisins

For the topping:

50 g Glace cherries
A sprinkling of Icing sugar
1 egg yolk
100 g dried fruit

Heat half the milk gently then mix in the yeast and half a teaspoon of salt. Leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Then add the yeast to the remainder of the dough ingredients and knead for another 10 minutes until it's all come together. Leave again in a warm place to rise to double its size.

Once the dough has risen shape it into a long thick roll then join the two ends to make a wreath. Spread the cherries and dried fruit over the top gently pushing them into the dough. Whisk up your egg yolk with a fork and brush all over the top. 

Pop into your preheated oven (180-200)  for about 30 mins to an hour depending on your oven. Basically it should be nicely golden on top. Remove from the oven let it cool slightly then sprinkle with icing sugar when you're ready to eat. This cake keeps for about a week, though in our house it generally goes within a couple of days. I love it toasted with butter for breakfast with my big bol of coffee. Happy Baking and Happy Epiphany to you all.