Galette des Rois
The traditional galette for the feast of the epiphany, celebrated on January 6th. It’s an occasion for merriment and it’s traditional to put a “fève” – a tiny, ceramic figurine inside the filling, in honour of the gifts borne by the wise men for the baby Jesus.
The one who finds it, is crowned king or queen for the day and is given a golden cardboard crown to wear.
Somewhere, I still have a paper crown I made for the occasion as a 6 or 7 year old.
For the crème patissière
2 organic egg yolks
50g caster sugar
230 ml full fat milk
20g unsalted butter
11/2 tbs brandy
For the frangipane
3 egg yolks
125g ground almonds, toasted in a large frying pan on low heat for 8 minutes
100g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp brandy
For the pastry
2 discs, all butter puff pastry, ready made, each 230g
1 egg yolk, beaten with a little water
5og icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 190C
To make the crème patissière, beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar, flour and corn flour till thick, white and creamy.
Place 200ml of the milk in a saucepan together with the butter and brandy.
As soon as the milk begins to steam, remove it from the heat and slowly pour it into the creamed sugar and eggs, mixing it in till completely amalgamated.
Return to a clean saucepan and stir continuously with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until thick and starting to pull away from the sides.
Let cool for at least 1 hour with a piece of cling film on contact with the surface to prevent a crust from forming.
To make the frangipane, beat the softened butter and sugar in a bowl till pale and thick. You can do this with a wooden spoon or a hand held mixer.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time and beat for a further minute, then add the ground almonds and brandy and beat again.
When well mixed, combine with the chilled crème patissière.
For a nicely even final result, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round holed nozzle, if you have one and if you don’t, then or no nozzle at all is also fine.
In the past, Galette des Rois were made to reveal as many puff pastry layers as possible. The more contemporary ones are sealed neatly all the around. I prefer it.
Line a flat pastry tray with a sheet of parchment paper and lay the circle of pastry on top, using a dinner plate to cut out the correct size circle, about 18 cm. The pastry must be very cold.
Lightly prick all over with a fork.
If using a piping bag and nozzle, start from the centre and pipe a spiral leaving a 2 cm gap all the way around.
Smooth the frangipane with an offset spatula or a knife, if you don’t have one.
Once again, cut the second piece of pastry using a dinner plate as a guide, though this time, 2 cm wider, so it fits snugly on top of the frangipane without too much of a stretch.
Also, lightly prick with a fork.
Use a pastry brush to carefully brush a little egg yolk on the bottom pastry rim and carefully place the second piece on top, pressing down delicately to seal.
Now, if you have a 16 cm pastry circle, place it on top and push it down lightly but not all the way through.
Brush copiously with the brushed egg yolk and let sit for 10 minutes or so. Then brush with egg yolk again. This will make the pastry extra golden.
Now bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and lightly sift the icing sugar all over it.
Return to the oven for another 5 – 10 minutes till the sugar is completely melted and the galette has a beautiful sheen to it.
Allow to cool a little before cutting into and eat while still warm.