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Bolo Rei

Hail to the King

Chef Ronald Jimenez
Lisbon Bakery

This purveyor of Portuguese breads and cakes keeps tradition close to the heart of his homeland. Ronald now helms longstanding Lisbon Bakery, and proudly distributes to restaurants citywide from his panaderia.

Bolo Rei

This traditional Portuguese sweet bread is a Christmas favourite in Winnipeg, Portugal and Mexico. Bolo Rei translates to “King’s Cake”, a reference to the three wise men in the Christmas story, and celebrates Christmas day, or “Dia de Reis”.


1 1/2 cups candied/dried nuts
2 cups candied/dried fruit
1 cup Port wine
5 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
5 eggs (keep 1 for garnish)
1 cup salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Chop candied fruits and nuts, mix together, add 1 cup Port wine and let rest.

2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. Add 1 cup of flour and mix well. Cover with cloth and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.

3. Beat butter with sugar, lemon and orange zest. Add 4 eggs, beating after each addition, and add yeast.

4. Add the rest of the flour and salt, kneading until mixture is elastic and soft.

5. Add 3/4 of nut and fruit mixture to dough and knead again. Keep remaining nuts and fruit mixture for garnish.

5. Shape the dough, sprinkle with flour and cover with a cloth, letting it rise for 3 hours or until doubled in volume.

6. Put the dough on a round 14-inch cake tray and make a hole in the middle.

7. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

1. Brush the cake with 1 beaten egg yolk and brush the entire surface.

2. Decorate with remaining fruits and nut mixture, and sprinkle with powdered sugar over the cake.

3. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes.

Yield 1 large wreath

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