The tradition of this particular recipe comes from the South of France. The Twelfth Night after Christmas is celebrated by many Christians throughout the world as Epiphany Day, which occurs on January 6th. To commemorate this day, a sweet roll is baked in the shape of a crown, recalling the Magi or Three Wise Men (Kings from the East).
Reprinted with the permission of KETC TV and Father Dominic Garramone
Makes 1 cake
1 / 2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
Grated peel and juice of 1 medium orange
2-1 / 2 cups HODGSON MILL Naturally White Flour, divided
1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast
1 / 4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 / 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 / 4 teaspoon ground cardamom
7 to 11 milk chocolate nuggets with almonds, unwrapped
Coin or trinket, wrapped in parchment paper
8 to 12 candied cherries or gumdrops
Combine sour cream, shortening, orange peel and orange juice in a medium saucepan; stir. Heat until shortening melts. Remove from heat and let cool to 120o to 130oF.
Sift 1 cup of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, nutmeg and cardamom into a medium mixing bowl; stir with a fork to mix. Stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture; beat about 3 minutes, or until thoroughly mixed. Beat in eggs. Stir in the remaining 1-1 / 2 cups flour; mix until all the flour is incorporated.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 3 minutes. Cover dough with a damp towel and let rest 10 minutes.
Lightly grease a 9-inch ring mold or tube pan. Divide the dough into 8 to 12 pieces, depending upon the number of servings you want. Flatten each piece into a circle about 3 inches in diameter. Reserve one dough circle for the coin or trinket. Place one chocolate nugget in the center of one dough circle; wrap dough around chocolate by pulling up the sides and pinching the top to form a teardrop shape (this forms the points of the crown). Repeat with remaining dough circles and chocolate nuggets. Wrap the coin or trinket (wrapped in parchment paper) in the reserved dough circle. Evenly space the pieces, point-side up, in the prepared ring mold. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
About 15 minutes before end of rising time, preheat oven to 350oF. Bake cake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in pan about 30 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack. Brush all sides with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Garnish points with candied cherries or gumdrops, using toothpicks or a small amount of frosting to secure them.
Note: If you use toothpicks to attach the candied cherries, be sure to remove them before serving the cake to small children, and warn older guests as well.