Galette des Rois


It's our tradition to bake a bread or a pie with a hidden coin inside during Christmas time. For a long time I thought that the custom was related only to the Orthodox Church but then bit by bit, I started realising that there is a vast number of similar religion related ceremonies and rituals between the different Christian denominations; the French tradition of serving Galette des Rois (a king cake to honour the Three Kings)) with a fava bean or figurine placed inside on the evening of 6 January (Orthodox Christmas Eve, when the bread with a coin is usually shared) is a good example of that. That tradition is related to the festival of Epiphany, also celebrated  in Belgium, Portugal, Quebec, Latin America and Spain with their own variations of the king cake.
Our French friends were our guests on Christmas Eve this year and I though that it would be a nice hospitality gesture to serve the galette at the end of the evening. And if I am completely honest, it was a good opportunity for me to finally try to make it, as I have had the Raymond Blanc's recipe on my waiting heap for awhile. And while we are confessing, here is another one - I bought puff pastry!! The galette was still good, so good in fact that I decided to make it more often regardless of the occasion. 

Galette des Rois

For the pastry
600 gr All butter puff pastry (quantity depends on packaging )
1/2 egg yolk

For the almond cream
75 gr soft unsalted butter
75 gr icing sugar
75 gr ground almonds
1 medium egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tbsp rum or Cognac

For the glaze
1 medium egg + 1/2 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp single cream

Pastry: Cut out a 20 cm round for the base and a 22 cm round for the top. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Cream: Whisk all the ingredients into a smooth paste and refrigerate.
To assemble: Spoon the almond paste onto the centre of the puff pastry base, leaving a 2 cm margin around the edge. Brush the rim with beaten egg yolk and drape the top pastry circle over. Now, using your fingers and thumbs press the edges slowly together to seal it. Make sure that all the air is expelled.. Cover loosely and refrigerate for another hour (or freeze) to firm the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas 4, take the Galette out, crimp the edge of the pastry using a back of your knife, lightly brush the top with the egg-cream mixture, then score a spiral curved rays starting from the centre, or criss-cross it. Bake for 45 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Serve warm or  at room temperature.

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