When Steph Blog in France suggested a Christmas Blog Hop I thought what a great idea and maybe someone can share their tried and tested recipe for Bolo Rei as it originates in France!
Bolo Rei is not simply a cake but also symbol of the Christmas season in Portugal as it is in France.
The Bolo Rei (King Cake) originated in France and only arrived in Portugal during the mid-nineteenth century. It is traditionally eaten on the 25th December (Nativity) and the 6th of January (Epiphany). However, the cake is so popular that it is on sale from the end of November through to the Epiphany. The bread-like cake is round with a hole in the centre like a crown and decorated with candied fruits and nuts to symbolize the gifts offered by the Magi. The Magi were the wise men who followed the star from the east to worship baby Jesus in Bethlehem. They were later referred to by the Church, as Kings. Hence Bolo Rei.
Inside the Bolo Rei are nuts, candied and dried fruits. There is also a fava bean and according to one legend, a baker added a fava bean to the cake to settle a dispute as to which of the wise men gave the gifts to baby Jesus. The Magi who found the fava, in his slice of cake, was then selected.
One family tradition in Portugal is that who ever has the slice with the fava bean has to buy or bake next year’s cake!
I bought a bolo Rei from Lidls to present to our guests as a “taste” of Portugal. Unfortunately, nobody liked the highly colored crystallized fruits and the cake, despite having a sell by date of the 5th January, seemed stale. We were extremely disappointed as it “looked” a beautiful cake. Next year I will buy from the bakers and try again… or may even attempt to make my own!
Does anyone have a good recipe to share?
Further information courtesy of Fernanda
Many years ago… Bolo Rei was not a christmas cake, it was a cake for the new years celebrations and if you had the “fava” you had to buy another cake for the “Dia de Reis” (King’s day) on Jan 6. Today it’s a christmas cake and you have so many “varieties”, the traditional, only with dried fruits (called “Rainha”), with dried fruits, “fios de ovos” and “doce de gila” on a “squarish shape” (called “escangalhado”)
Finally DON’T buy the cake on Lidl or other supermarkets they have been done on a factory several weeks ago, look for it at your local bakery/pastelaria…
Gila or Chila is a kind of pumpkin (it’s popular in the Algarve) here you have the image http://olhares.sapo.pt/abobora-gila-foto1024651.html