Monday, 12 December 2011

Its gonna be a cold cold Christmas

 Bolo Rei ice cream cake
Bolo Rei, the King's Cake, is a traditional Portuguese sweet bread with nuts and crystallized (candied) fruit, eaten at Christmas time and especially on 6 January, Kings' Day.The Bolo Rei must not be missing from the Portuguese Christmas.There used to be a tradition of placing a broad bean and a coin (or small trinket) in the Bolo Rei but this was banned in cakes sold commercially some years ago due to incidents of choking! Legend has it that the Three Kings, as they followed the Star of Bethlehem on their way to greet baby Jesus, could not agree amongst themselves which would be the first to give their gift to Jesus. On their travels they met a baker who gave them a loaf of bread with a broad bean hidden inside it. He told them that the one who ended up with the slice of bread with the bean should give baby Jesus the present first and they accepted this idea as a means of resolving their dispute.This tradition survives today and the coin or trinket in the cake represents good luck.
I´ve taken roughly the same ingredients of a traditional Bolo Rei but deconstructed it,and created an ice cream cake.I have kept its distinctive shape, baked in the shape of a crown or ring but given it a lighter taste and more modern look that is still in keeping with the overall feel of the original.The traditional cake usually contains small trinkets (a little heart, a tiny porcelain baby Jesus, an owl, or something wrapped up in paper or even a one euro coin or the dried broad bean.
My recipe is easier to make than the cake, which is very time consuming.I had to take several issues into account before I found my final solution.The first impression of a dish is always created by its visual appeal.An ice cream is a very different texture to a baked cake. The flavours and the texture of the food on the plate had to be considered in the creative mix to produce the overall look of the dish.I had to think about how it was going to be served.
Its gonna be a cold cold Christmas but this Bolo Rei is going to be your star turn,and whoever finds the bean is crowned King of the party and must promise to make the cake the following year. At adult parties, the person who finds the bean is expected to pay for the King´s cake for the following year.

Bolo Rei Gelado
500ml (2 cups ) cream
170g icing sugar
55g toasted almonds
55g glace cherries
55g candied peel
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sultanas
1 Desertspoon Maciera (Portuguese brandy)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1teaspoon almond essence
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 large tablespoon cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons hot water
2 egg whites

Chop all the dried fruit and add the mixed spice. Pour over the brandy and leave to stand overnight.Whip the cream and add half the icing sugar. In another bowl, beat the egg whites and add the rest of the sugar.Beat again. Gently blend the cream and egg white mixtures together.Add the fruit and almonds followed by the cocoa powder dissolved in the hot water.Line a ring mould or small bundt pan with foil.Pour in the mixture and press flat. Cover with foil and freeze.Turn out onto a plate and decorate with candied fruit garnish.


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