Rosca de Pascua: an Argentine Easter tradition.

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It’s beautiful, isn’t it? A bit like a crown covered in rubies…

Easter is fast approaching, and for once I decided to post this recipe before people were looking for inspiration, rather than after.

With its soft, sweet and aromatic interior, and an outer layer of creme pattisiere and glase cherries, this is one of the nicest sweet breads you’ll ever eat.

Rosca de Pascua  is to Argentine people what hot cross buns are to the English and Irish: a must have for the Easter holiday.

This bread is eaten on Easter Sunday, more often than not as the dessert of a quite substantial Sunday lunch, but sometimes its taken out at tea time, to share with visiting relatives.

Traditionally, it used to also have an un-peeled boiled egg as part of the decoration, but it was later replaced by a chocolate egg.

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These days most people just buy it from a bakery, but if you are lucky enough, you might have a grandma that likes baking and then it will befall on her to make one for Easter Sunday.

If you’ll like something different this Easter, why not give this recipe a go?  Otherwise, you can make it any day and enjoy it as a sweet treat.

It takes a bit of time, but it will be worth your while.

The following ingredients make two 1/2 Kg Roscas or 1 big, 1 kilo Rosca.

Ingredients:

600 grs of strong flour

7 grs of instant yeast

100 grs of butter at room temperature

150 grs sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

130 ml lukewarm milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

Zest from 1 orange

Vanilla essence, optional.

To decorate: crème patissiere,  glasse cherries and chouquette sugar.

To make the creme patissiere:

2 egg yolks

20 g corn starch

250 ml milk

60 g sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 

How to:

1.- In a bowl mix the tablespoon of honey, the yeast and the lukewarm milk and let it rest until the yeast froths.

2.- Meanwhile mix the flour and the salt in a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, the sugar, the orange blossom essence, the vanilla essence and the orange zest.

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3.- Once the yeast has froth, add it to the centre of the well, and with one hand start to mix all the ingredients inside your well until they are fully integrated. Then, carefully, start adding flour from the sides of the well so that the mixture starts to thicken. At this point you can help yourself with a scraper. Keep adding flour until you have a dough.

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4.- Once you have incorporated all the flour and your dough is workable you will add the butter. It should be at room temperature and therefore pliable. Just add half the butter to the dough and knead until you can’t see any trace of it on the dough, then add the rest of the butter and knead. You will notice that your dough gets very sticky but don’t add any more flour because that will result in a hard, dense and dry rosca (yes, all because of just a little more flour).

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5.- After 10 minutes of working it you’ll have a soft, pliable dough, so just have faith and keep kneading. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

6.- After 15 minutes, dip one of your fingers in flour and use it to make a hole in the centre of the dough. Then use your hand to shape it until the hole is as big as the bottom of a glass.

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6.- Place the shaped roscas in a baking tray and in the centre of each rosca place a buttered and floured glass jar or glass so that it will keep its shape during baking. Let them rise until double in size. Because of the sugar and butter in the dough it might take up to 2 hours.

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In the meantime you can prepare the crème patissiere:

  1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar for a few minutes until pale and slightly thickened.
  2. Whisk in the flours.
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan until stating to boil.
  4. Whisk the milk into the egg mix whisking vigorously, otherwise you’ll cook the eggs and get scrambled eggs!!
  5. Put the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time until thick and boiling.
  6. Take the pan off the heat – cover with cling-film to prevent a skin from forming.

If you are new to making crème pat, here is a video that might help you. The quantities are different, just ignore, we are making a lot less crème pat!

http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/how-to-cook/how-to-make-a-creme-patisserie.

7.- After 2 hours paint with egg and place in a preheated oven at 190 C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from the oven and decorate with the crème patissiere, the cherries and the chouquette sugar. Place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. They come out of the oven looking like this:

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8.- To give it the bakery finish you have to brush them with a syrup made out of equal parts of water and sugar, simply boil them together until the mixture thickens a bit, let it cool before you brush the roscas with it. That gives them the glossy finish the Rosca de Pascua traditionally has.

DSC051939.- Let them cool down and enjoy!!!

DSC05202Love,

Paula

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