Bolo-Rei or Happy New Year at Bibliopharm!

Since it’s too early in the season to start planting in Zone 7a, what better way to kick off the new year with a Bolo-Rei or King Cake? Here’s my first attempt:

Bolo-Rei (King’s Cake)
Traditional Portuguese Bread of Christmastime, Twelfth Night, Epiphany, and Eastertime


  • 1 cup finely diced mixed candied fruits (I omitted, but in hindsight, shouldn’t have)
  • 1/3 cup golden seedless raisins
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped blanched almonds or walnuts (I used almonds)
  • 2/3 cup ruby port (I used a Reserve)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour (about)


  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons cold water (I’d use less next time as it was too thin)


  • 20 thin slices of candied citron (I found “Aikebom Fruta Cristalizada” at the local Portuguese Market)
  • 10 candied red cherries, halved (omitted)
  • 20 blanched almonds (omitted)
  • 40 pine nuts (omitted)
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup (omitted)


In a bowl, macerate fruits, nuts, and port. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, make a sponge with the water and water. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, zest, and sugar. Add eggs to the butter mixture one at a time. Then add milk. Add fruit and nut mixture except for the large pieces of candied citron needed for decoration. Add yeast mixture. Add flour a cup at time. This will make a very soft and sticky dough. Allow to rise until doubled for about an hour. Punch down dough and kneed hard 30-40 times.

Divide in half and shape each into a chunky rope about 22” long, seal into a circle/crown shape, and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Allow to double in bulk, about 40-50 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Glaze and decorate. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, lower temperature to 350F and bake another 15-20 minutes longer until browned and hollow sounding. Brush candied fruits with corn syrup while still hot.

Notes:  This freezes well.  If you have stale bread leftover, try making it into french toast.


What do you have to say? The family and flock would love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: