In Portugal, the festive feast that is Christmas Dinner is usually served on Christmas Eve. This is followed by Mass, also known as Missa do Galo.
Bolo Rei is a time-honoured Portuguese fruit cake served throughout the festive period, particularly as part of the Consoada, the traditional Portuguese Christmas feast.
Prep time: 1-2 hours
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 2 loaves
400g finely chopped mixed candied fruit
200g seedless raisins or golden raisins
2 tsp each finely grated lemon and orange zest
2 tbsp active dry yeast
150g granulated sugar
840g self-raising flour
140ml lukewarm water + 30ml warm milk (mixture)
225g butter, softened
150 ml warm milk
115g almonds or walnuts chopped
2 tbsp melted butter
Red and green glace cherries, kept whole
2 candied oranges, quartered
2 tbsp corn syrup
Icing sugar, to dust
- In a mixing bowl, add the assorted candied fruit, raisins, lemon and orange zest and port. Stir, cover with cling film and set aside.
- In another bowl, add the yeast, 1 tbsp of sugar, 150g of flour and the water and milk combination. Whisk until smooth then cover and leave in a warm spot for 30 minutes or until the mixture has doubled in size.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add 150g flour and the milk, and then beat again.
- Uncover the yeast and stir to reduce the size. Slowly beat the two mixtures together until fully incorporated. Add the fruit mixture and the nuts, and stir together using a wooden spoon.
- Add the remaining flour, 150g at a time, until a soft, sticky dough is formed.
- Grease a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and brush the top of the dough with the melted butter. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.
- Uncover and cut the dough in half on a lightly floured surface. Knead each half for 1-2 minutes, and then shape each half into a ball.
- Place each ball on a greased baking tray and using your fingers, make a hole in the centre of each one. Shape the balls into 9-inch rings with a 3 inch hole in their centres. You can place a greased jam jar inside each hole to keep the shape.
- Whisk the remaining egg and brush it on top of each of the rings. Decorate with cherries and the quartered candied oranges, making sure to lightly press them into the dough.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 190C and bake the rings for 40 minutes or until golden.
- Place on a cooling rack and brush the corn syrup over the top of each ring.
- Leave to cool and then lightly dust with icing sugar.