Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ma Galette des Rois

This year I got ambitious and made my own Galette des Rois instead of buying it from my local pastry shop. This flaky golden puff pastry is  traditionally eaten on January 6, day of the Epiphany.  What is Epiphany you may ask?  it is an ancient Christian holiday that marks the arrival of the three Magi in Bethlehem to meet the enfant Jesus.  This tradition reigns strong in France where bakers compete for the best gallette des rois, and where at the sacro-saint sunday family lunch gathering the galette is served and a king or queen is crowned for the day.   Let me explain.  The round galette is made of two puff pastry sheets - a top and a bottom flaky sheets.  It is filled  with frangipani cream - a mixture of butter, powder almond, sugar and eggs.  Inside the cake lay hidden a "feve", usually a tiny ceramic figurine.  The person who finds the "feve" is declared King or Queen and wears a golden paper crown the rest of the day.  For the unsuspecting visitor, beware!  Don't bite too hard in the cake or you may risk to break a tooth or swallow the tiny "feve". 

Here is simple recipe.  
2 rolls of puff pastry (great if you can make your own; I bought mine frozen and let it defrost at room temperature for about 20 minutes) 
4 oz  of ground almond (almond flour) 
3 oz of sugar
2 oz of  butter at room temperature
1 egg  
egg yolk to paint the top of the pastry 
egg white  to seal together edges of the two pastries

Mix the sugar and  the butter until whiten. Add the egg , the ground almond  and mix till it becomes a smooth paste. You can add a dash of almond extract, vanilla or rhum for extra flavoring.  

Take one roll of the puff pastry and  shape it as a circle (use a plate or the bottom part of a spring form cake pan to cut the contour or the  pastry) ; Place it on a flat baking sheet.  Apply egg white around the edge of the dough so that it could stick to the top pastry roll. Spread the frangipane mixture ; place the "feve" (a whole almond will do) ; cover with the second puff pastry roll and pinch the edges to seal.  Apply egg yolk mixed with a little water on the top pastry to render it golden.  With the edge of a knife make some designs; pierce a couple of tiny holes in the dough so that some steam will escape during the baking.  Refrigerate the pastry for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Place it in a 400 F pre-heated oven  for 25 minutes.  Voila!! Enjoy!! 

tag: France tradition, galette des rois, 

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