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