Bolo-rei The cake of Kings & Azevias recipe



Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in Portugal without Bolo-rei – (king cake).

Crown shaped, decorated with crystalised fruits and nuts it was eaten specifically on the day of the Kings January 6th signifying one of The Three Kings gifts to baby Jesus. In Portugal the cake used contain within the doughy contents (tasting similar to Italian Panettone) a small trinket and a broadbean. The person finding the trinket is bestowed with good luck for the year, and the unlucky broadbean recipient - had to buy the bolo-rei the following year. Around 20 years ago the added trinkets were removed as people had broken teeth or choked. Progress?    

Now consumed over the whole festive season, coming in various sizes most Portuguese buy rather than make their own Bolo-rei.  


Manuela’s Seasons Greetings and Recipe

This is something we love for Christmas called Azevias.

Most of our Christmas sweets are deep-fried and covered with cinnamon and sugar on top

This one can have a sweet potato filling or chickpeas.



200 gms self raising flour

30 gms butter (melted)

80 gms water (room temp)

pinch of salt

20ml firewater (no firewater on hand? Substitute with any strong fortified wine/brandy)

Mix the flour with the melted butter, add water, salt and firewater

Mix until smooth and refrigerate for 30 minutes



400 gms chickpeas – use tinned for convenience, rub in paper towel to loosen - discard any loose skins

300 gms sugar

2 egg yolks

Half a spoon of ground cinnamon

1 lemon peel


Mix the chickpeas, sugar and cinnamon

Blend together until you have a smooth paste

Put the paste and lemon peel in a pan on the stove and start boiling - medium heat

Add the yolks slowly mixing all the time

When boiling remove from the heat

Set aside the lemon peel and allow to cool.  Chop finely and add to paste. 


Roll dough on a cool surface sprinkled with flour

Cut round pieces 10cms diameter, put a spoon full of the filling in the center

Close over filling to shape in half moons. Press edges together to seal

Fry in hot oil until golden on each side

Dry and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar