January is the month of la galette in France. La galette des rois, or King’s Cake, a flaky buttery pastry filled with almond paste, is traditionally eaten at Epiphany on 6th January, but in reality it’s eaten throughout the month at social gatherings, schools, offices, New Year ceremonies and so on. As today is Epiphany I thought I’d share with you just how easy it is to make your own galette des rois. For details on the traditions that surround the eating of the cake take a look at this post I wrote a while back.
Making your own Galette des rois is very simple, assuming you can get hold of ready-made puff pastry. In France we’re spoilt with excellent quality puff pastry that comes ready rolled with its own baking paper, available in every supermarket. And even better than that, during the festive period, roughly December and January, kits of puff pastry with a crown and figurine are sold too!
To make a traditional Galette des rois frangipane (almond paste King’s Cake) here’s what you need:
460g puff pastry – either 2 rolls of ready-made pastry or home-made divided into 2 and rolled into thin rounds of approx 30-35cms diametre
100g ground almonds
1 egg (+1 egg yolk, beaten)
50g softened butter
A few drops of almond essence
1 fève (small ceramic figurine or a dried broad bean if ceramic figurine not available) + 1 paper crown
And here’s what you do:
Roll out the bottom pastry onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Prick it with a fork several times.
Mix all other ingredients except the extra egg yolk in a mixing bowl, beat till thoroughly mixed and creamy. The paste should be quite thick.
Spread the paste over the pastry, leaving an edge of a couple of centimetres.
Paint some beaten egg yolk around the edges as “glue” to help stick the top layer of pastry.
Place the fève (figurine) somewhere not too near the centre.
Place the 2nd round of pastry over the top and pinch around the edges to stick it firmly closed.
Prick a few holes and cut a pattern on the top with a knife (if you wish!)
Paint with the beaten egg yolk to make the pastry beautifully golden.
Bake at 200°c (fan assisted oven) for approx 25 mins (or until golden, keep an eye on it, all ovens are different).
Can be served warm or cold.
And this is what you do next!
Cut the cake into as many pieces as there are people being served, send the youngest child under the table to shout out names of who gets which slice, serve the slices, get the kid back and scoff your part, checking carefully not to break a tooth or choke on the fève (!!)
Lick your buttery fingers and crown the King or Queen – the lucky person who gets the fève. You can read the explanation of this unusual behaviour here.
For more international seasonal recipes check out this great post: Easy Christmas Recipes For Kids From Around The World
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