Known as the king’s cake, taking its name from three biblical kings, it is a type of cake/galette associated in a number of countries with the festival/celebration of Epiphany, commemorated on January 6th, at the end of the Christmas season, on the 12th day. The French version, galette des rois, what is now flaky puff pastry filled with frangipane, is also called Pithiviers (named after a town, south of Paris, where it is said to have originated). It started roughly 300 years ago, as a dry French bread with sugar on top and a fava-bean (la fève) inside. Now, the cake often has a very small plastic baby (said to represent Baby Jesus) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake/galette with the baby doll or a trinket becomes king/queen for a day!
I had eaten this delicious galette before, not knowing its name or origin until last year, when I saw two posts by my fellow blogger friends, one by Darya of Tortore (and 2015, here ) and another by Martine of Petite World Citizen. Please check out their posts, which contain a wealth of information about this galette‘s history and varieties it comes in. I marked my calendar to bake one in January 2015. I wanted to use the trinket I happened to get in a slice at a friend’s house. I was delighted when Darya confirmed that the one who gets the trinket has to be the next to make the galette and use the same trinket! I was planning to post it on January 6th, but my oven died 3 days before. To my relief, what used to be a specific galette made for January 6th is now enjoyed starting before Christmas, through the end of January. It meant, I have until end of January to make it! I have a new oven now, and here is my first attempt! And I know, I will be making it again-and-again during the year.
[Note: For this written recipe, I reduced the quantity of almond cream by a third, based on the result of this galette I made. I found there was too much filling, which not only overpowered the puff-pastry, but also resulted in pillow-like galette.]
Galette des Rois
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
This galette is made with frangipane filling (a mixture of pastry cream and almond cream). However, it may be made with only almond creme.
INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS
• 1 recipe → Pastry Cream
◊ Make pastry cream 3+ hours before making the almond cream, so there is plenty of time for it to chill and harden.
Almond Cream • Crème d’amandes
• 50 g / ½ cup ground or slivered, blanched almonds
• 50 g / ¼ cup granulated sugar
• smidgen salt
• 3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
• ½ egg, well beaten (the other half is used for egg wash)
◊ If using blanched, slivered almonds, ground them finely with a food-processor. Add the rest of the almond cream ingredients and incorporate well.
– or –
◊ In a medium bowl, combine ground almond, sugar, and salt. Mash in the butter until completely incorporated. Add the beaten-½-egg to the mixture and mix all together.
◊ Mix almond cream and chilled pastry cream to make frangipane. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and no more than 24 hours to chill and harden. [I made frangipane the night before, poured in lined with parchment-paper, 18cm/7″ round Pyrex, and put it in the freezer. Before assembling, loosened by going though the edges with narrow knife, flipped, removed the lining and placed it in the center of the puff-pastry sheet.]
• 450 g / 1 lb box with 2 frozen puff-pastries – Trader Joe’s brand or any, preferably made with real butter
For egg wash
• ½ egg, well beaten, with 1 tsp water or milk
◊ If puff-pastries come frozen in rolls, defrost in refrigerator overnight, or per box’s instructions. Make sure it is ready to be unrolled. After defrosting, flatten the rolled puff-pastry. If any tears need repairing, push your fingers across tears and return to freezer in a flat form (in a tray, well-wrapped) for it to completely harden again. Use store-bought, frozen puff-pastry sheet as is and do not stretch it with rolling-pin.
◊ Line a baking pan with parchment paper (not wax paper).
◊ Also, line a cutting board (which fits in the freezer) with parchment paper, if the frozen pastry does not already come with one.
◊ Place rack on middle oven shelf and preheat to 200°C/400°F.
◊ Store-bought puff pastry tends to become difficult to work with as it warms up. It is important to keep it chilled and work quickly with it. Remove puff-pastry from freezer one at a time. From this point, work quickly, to keep puff-pastry from getting warm/soft (not only does it become difficult to cut, but also, will not produce desired baked finish).
◊ Place first frozen puff-pastry on parchment paper on cutting board. Using a 23cm/9″ cake pan as a template, trace and cut the pastry in a circle. Put the first sheet back in the freezer. Take the second sheet out and repeat the process. Leave them in the freezer for 5 ~10 minutes.
◊ Take both puff-pastry sheets out of the freezer. Place one on the cutting board (bottom layer) and the other on the counter. Spread the frangipane over the center of the bottom puff-pastry layer, leaving 3cm/1″ exposed border. Place the trinket as the fève on the corner of frangipane (as seen in the photo). Brush all around the exposed area with water or the egg-wash. Cover with the top puff-pastry layer and press down to tightly seal the edges together. Brush the galette lightly, evenly with egg-wash over the top only and avoid getting egg-wash on the sides, which will prevent the pastry from rising at the edges. Put the galette back in the freezer for 10 minutes.
◊ Take the galette out and egg-wash again. Next, with the tip of a small, sharp knife, score → designs on the top (be careful not to cut all the way in and tear), and insert the knife into the center to make a ventilation hole (larger than the one I made (as seen in the photo). Using the back of the knife, pull-cut inward, 1cm deep, every 2 cm, all around the circle. While making the pull-cuts, make a dent between each cut with the tip of a finger (see photo). If you wish, make a score mark, so only you know where the trinket is. It may be good to put it back in the freezer again for 10 minutes before baking.
◊ Place the galette on the lined baking pan and bake for 10 minutes on 200°C/400°F. Reduce the heat to 190°C/375°F and continue to bake for another 20~25 minutes or until evenly golden-brown on the top. Place the baked galette on a cooling rack and let it cool completely. Best when served at room temperature.
¹ In French bakeries, a thick syrup or maple syrup is brushed on, hot out of the oven. I have not tried this yet.
² Also, some serve the galette with a gold paper crown on top to crown the ‘king for a day’ winner!
³ Here are two videos, one in English → here and the other from a French bakery, in French → here to see how the professionals make them. Of course, homemade puff-pastry dough is the best. I am improvising here with frozen, store bought.]
~ Bon Appétit! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?