January 6th is the holiday known around the world as Three Kings’ Day or Epiphany. In Germany and throughout much of Europe the day is celebrated by making this delicious sweet bread known as King Cake. Stuffed with raisins and orange zest, it’s fabulous on its own, but it also comes with a special bonus–one section contains a whole almond that entitles the finder to be King or Queen for the day! Make it for your family this year and start a new holiday tradition.
4 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm milk, preferably whole
1/2 c butter, softened
2 tsp orange thinly stripped zest
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
1/8 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp hot water
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
In a large stand mixer with the dough attachment, combine first 9 ingredients. Mix on low speed till dough is fully incorporated, then knead for a few minutes by hand. Place in a covered bowl and allow to rise in a warm spot till dough has doubled. (Usually about 2 hours.)
Divide dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each section into a ball, and place in a flower-pattern on a greased sheet pan–one piece in the center and 7 pieces surrounding it. Allow to rise again, about 30 minutes.
While bread is still warm, brush each roll with the jam glaze. Make several coats until rolls are shiny. Sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.
Before serving, slip the almond through the bottom of one of the rolls for the lucky person to find.
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