First post of the year: what to do? The first thought that came to my mind was: Galette des Rois, but then I hesitated, why? well, this puff pastry cake is not very photogenic…you are never going to win a Food Photography award, nor a Pastry Contest, with the “galette”. However, my children adore it !!! everybody in France loves this tradition, and then, a food blog is about cooking and eating, after all….so what the heck, I decided to do it !
I am sure I will not get hundreds of comments telling me what a great cook I am, but my family will be happy…and that’s more than a good reason to make it….
Like in this ad of crème caramel “Bonne Maman”, I will feel awfully proud if my children say: “It’s you that we love so much …”
The “Galette des Rois” inaugurates the “gastronomic year” in France…Yes, as soon as January 1st is over (or even before) we will find these flaky pastry/”frangipane” pies everywhere: bakeries, supermarkets (quality differs though…). Originally, it was the tradition in France to eat them the day of the Epiphany, and they have become particularly popular with children because there is a “fève” (little figurine) in….and the one that gets the “fève” will be king or queen for the day or the week….what’s more, galettes bought in shops normally come with a golden paper crown to be worn by the lucky gourmet….so you will see why children look forward to this gastronomic tradition….!It is to be served warm, (not “hot” like in my photo)…together with some champagne or cider (according to your budget!)
For this Galette des Rois, you will need:
puff pastry, 500 gr (or 2 sheets )
Frangipane, 300 gr. (crème d’amande + pastry cream)
To make the almond cream, you need 100 gr of soft butter (room temperature). In a bowl, put the butter, 100 gr of icing sugar, 100 gr of almond flour, 1 coffee spoon of corn flour, 2 eggs, and one drop of almond extract. Whisk everything at low speed. Combine with 125 gr of pastry cream.
To make the pastry cream, (500 gr), remove the seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean halved lengthwise, bring to a boil 350 gr. of milk with the vanilla bean and seeds in it. Let it stand for 15′ (infusion). In a bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks with 80 gr of granulated sugar until light. Add in 30 gr of all-purpose flour. Mix to combine. Remove the vanilla bean (sifting) and slowly dribble the hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring all the time. When about half of the milk has been added, place all the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Using a whisk, mix the pastry cream as it heats, making sure to reach all of the corners of the pan when you stir. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick. Put the cream, preferably in a “gratin” dish, let it cool, placing on top (in direct contact) some plastic wrap, to stop a skin from forming. Once cool, refrigerate. Use only 125 gr of this cream; save the rest for some other dessert.
On a slightly floured cold surface, roll the puff pastry with a rolling pin till 4 mm width, cut 2 circles ( 22cm diameter) out of the puff pastry. Put one of them on a baking sheet sprinkled with very cold water. (if your puff pastry is “pure butter” you don’t need parchment paper!) Brush one inch around the edge of the circle with egg wash (beaten egg yolk). Spread the frangipane cream on the center, put the “feve”(bean or figurine), and the amarenas cherries (as many as you want) and place the second circle on top matching the edges of the circles. Press all around the edges to glue them together. Press softly in the center to evenly spread the filling. Lightly brush the egg wash onto the top of the gallette. Use the back of a knife to make a criss cross pattern in the egg wash, also, make some lateral cuts on the edges.Finally, prick several small slits in the top to vent steam while baking. Refrigerate for 45′. Puff pastry will be puffier if there is a temperature shock…this is why we take from the cold into a very hot oven, 210°C, for 5′, then lower to 180°C, for 25/30′ (depending on the oven) Serve warm.
There are many variations in the recipe of Galette, plain (only the frangipane), pistachio (adding a bit of pistachio paste, chocolate, etc) In my case, I chose the amarena cherries, because I love them, especially these Italian ones !!! As the song goes, the “good thing about temptation is to surrender to it”…at least from time to time….!