Galette des Rois

Jan 7, 2014 by

Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas celebrated on the Feast of the Epiphany has just passed. It is an

Irish tradition when women get together and celebrate all the hard work they have completed over the Christmas holidays.

A few years ago when I worked in a French Artisan bakery I used to see one of the pastry chefs making this creation with puff pastry and would stand and watch him. He told me about the tradition of eating it on the twelfth day of Christmas in France (the Epiphany). A trinket called la fève (originally a bean but now a trinket) is placed inside.The person who discovers it becomes king for the day. Bakeries in France sell these for the month of January and often provide a paper crown for the person who discovers the trinket.

I love stories behind cakes so I often intended to make one but I never did. Until now. I misread a recipe when making almond paste for my Christmas cake and so had a big ball of it leftover. In addition, three times when looking in the supermarket for icing sugar I picked up caster sugar instead. (Why can’t manufacturers differentiate their packaging better?) So my almond paste was made with mostly caster sugar rather than fifty:fifty icing and caster. The resulting paste was rather gritty but was still fine.

I looked up recipes for Galette but there were very few and most began with “take a pack of ready made puff pastry”. Grrrrr……..

Making puff pastry is so simple and is probably a lot cheaper (and nicer) than buying it.

For the puff pastry recipe
200g plain flour sieved
a pinch of salt
200g butter cut into cubes
cold water

Roughly rub the butter into the flour. You don’t have to make it resemble fine breadcrumbs as normal pastry recipes tell you. Add water slowly until you just gather the mix together.  Cover with cling film and place in fridge for half an hour.

Remove from the fridge and form it roughly into a rectangle. Roll it out to about three times it’s length in one direction only. Fold the top third to the middle and then fold the bottom third over it. Turn it a half turn to the left or right and turn it over so the folds are underneath. Roll it out again in a long rectangle and repeat the process. Do this three times. You will have streaks of butter visible. This is the way it should be. Cover with cling film and place back in the fridge while you get the filling ready.

Frangipane recipe
75g each butter, caster sugar and ground almonds
1 large egg beaten (or two small)

I used my leftover almond paste for the filling but if you have none make a frangipane. Mix softened butter and caster sugar together. Add one large egg beaten. Finally add ground almonds.

Remove pastry from fridge and cut in half. Roll out half to approximately 1cm thickness and using the dinner plate as a template cut out the bottom layer. Place on a baking tray on top of baking paper. Spread 2 tablespoons of apricot jam within 1cm of the edge. Brush around the edge with water. Spoon the frangipane mix over the jam. You can add a trinket if you wish.

Roll out the second half of the pastry and cut again using the plate as a template. Place it over the filling. Press down the edges all around to seal. Egg wash the pastry and make cuts as in the picture. Do not go through the pastry, rather just mark it.

Place in a pre-heated oven 180deg fan for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Slide onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve either warm or cold.

For sheer entertainment value click here for an episode of the Two Fat Ladies making one. 

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  1. Well it got scoffed so that's a good sign 😉

  2. looks delish! bon apps!

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