Galette des Rois
French King Cake

Claire

A photo of a finished Galette des Rois", cut to show the almond filling, and wearing the traditional crown!

This special pie known as “Galette des Rois” is traditionally savored in France at Epiphany – the visit of the Magi --, on January 6. Modern-day consumerism tends to make it available in many Topside bakeries for a couple of weeks around the event proper. One would rather expect Tunnel folk, who fully appreciate a rare treat for what it is, to stick to tradition ;)

Two other entirely different local recipes exist (including the one from southeastern Provence that made it into Louisiana), but this one is the most widespread in France.

Most importantly, it is customary to nestle “la fève” (historically a raw fava bean, nowadays usually a small porcelain trinket) inside the rich filling, and crown the finder as king or queen of the day upon (careful!) consumption. More on this after the recipe!

This is a rich dessert made of homemade almond cream filling, sandwiched between two delicate, buttery layers of puff pastry.

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 slices of King Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup of ground almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons or 1/3 cup of butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 dried fava bean, or porcelain trinket, or metal trinket
2 rolls of puff pastry


Preparation:

Almond cream filling a.k.a frangipane:
Whip the sugar and butter at room temperature until the mix whitens. Add one whole egg and keep whipping; add the ground almond and then the other egg. Mix well, until a smooth, creamy paste is formed.

Completing the Galette des Rois:
Preheat the oven to 400-425F.

Roll out the sheets of puff pastry and cut out two 11-inch circles. Place one of the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon the frangipane on the puff pastry and spread it to within 1 1/2 inches of the edge of the circle.

If desired, hide the bean or trinket in the almond cream filling. Place the second pastry circle on top of the almond filling, crimping or pressing the edges of the pastry to seal the cake. Using a sharp knife, score a decorative pattern (crisscross or other) on the top layer of the pastry, without cutting through to the almond filling.

Brush the Galette des Rois with the beaten egg or yolk.

Preferably let the cake rest for 45 minutes, then bake it for 15 minutes.

Dust the cake with the powdered sugar, and bake it for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until it turns golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet.

Before serving, top the cake with golden cardboard crown in order to enact the tradition of finding the King!

 

How to serve and enjoy the Galette des Rois:

You may serve this rich dessert warm, along with coffee, tea, apple cider…  or even champagne for the adults!

Make sure to warn your fellow diners to give careful bites until “la fève” is found!  Cut the Galette des Rois into even slices; have the youngest child or guest turn away from the table and choose who gets each slice; savour carefully (mindful of the hidden “bean”); and crown as king or queen the person who finds the fava bean! The king or queen may even choose a consort, if they so desire.

A bit of history!

A photo of the whole, uncut galette. The pastry is golden-brown and scored in diamonds.

Please read all about its fascinating history at:
http://www.frenchfoodintheus.org/spip.php?article3130
A page that greatly helped me share this familiar recipe in English!

Additional resource:
http://frenchfood.about.com/


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