Les French boulangerie (bakeries) begin setting out their delicious Epiphany cakes and breads in mid-December. The holiday is observed around January 6th, and commemorates what is believed to be the journey the wise men took to visit the Baby Jesus shortly after his birth. The Fête des Rois is a joyous celebration, and it is traditional to serve La Galette des Rois (King’s Cake) for dessert. However, in some areas of France, they also serve a Brioche des Rois, which consists of buttery brioche dough made in the shape of a crown; it can contain fruits and nuts, or it can be left plain. Like La Galette des Rois, a dried fava bean or a fève, which is a small ceramic figurine, is inserted into the Brioche, and the lucky recipient becomes King (or Queen) for the day, and is obligated to bring a Brioche des Rois to the celebration the next year.
The dough for the following La Brioche des Rois is made easily and quickly in the automatic bread machine, but the finished product is just as buttery and delicious as its time-consuming counterpart. I have chosen to add red and green glacé cherries, but you can add fruitcake mix, or you can leave it plain and serve it as dinner rolls rather than as a dessert bread. If you choose to add the cherries, you’ll also want to sprinkle with coarse sugar and brush with a light glaze after removing from the oven.
1/2 cup warm water
3 1/2 tablespoons powdered milk
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons yeast
1 cup glace cherries, preferably both red and green
1 egg yolk, beaten
Coarse baking sugar
Red and green cherries
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Place all dough ingredients except cherries in the bread machine in the order listed.
- Set the machine to dough and turn on. Check after 5 minutes to make sure the ingredients are mixing properly and the ingredients have formed a soft ball of dough. If the ball is too soft, add additional flour; if the ball is too stiff, add a little more water and start the cycle over.
- Once the cycle has run for 30 minutes, add the cherries.
- When the cycle has finished, transfer the dough to a lightly floured pastry cloth or other surface.
- Divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll each into a ball, and set in a well-greased 12” ring mold (or substitute a tube pan or Bundt pan).
- Use your fingers to pinch the tops of each into a point.
- Let rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes, or until very light.
- Brush brioche with egg yolk and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
- Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Decorate with the additional red and green cherries, and brush them with glaze.
- Glaze: Mix the ingredients until smooth.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 184 Calories from Fat 68
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 37% Protein 8% Carb. 56%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 61 mg
Sodium 178 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 7% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 2%