The Epiphany – the arrival of the wise men – is January 6th, and if you’ve lived in Europe you have certainly seen the pastry shops loaded with the seasonal galette des rois – King’s cake. If you’re wondering what this delicacy signifies, read my blog post about this famous tradition.
In France, the galette des rois is sold throughout the month of January; however, nothing prevents you from eating a galette des rois when you want – so why not make your own? There are plenty of recipes on the web and in cook books. I’ve tried many of them, modified them, tried them again – not once, not twice, but multiple times. I think my family ate more galettes des rois in the last two weeks than in the last five years! I took a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and I added my two cents. I can’t say it’s my recipe – the King’s cake has a long tradition after all – but let’s just say this is my favorite version of the galette. There are many different ways to make the galette but the base is puff pastry filled with almond paste.
Serving: 6-8 people
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 40 min
10 cl – 3.4 fl oz milk
1 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
50 g – 1.8 oz powdered sugar
10 g – 0.4 oz cornstarch
100 g – 4 oz softened butter
120 g – 4.2 oz powdered sugar
120 g – 4.2 oz almond flour
15 g – 0.5 oz cornstarch
1 cuillère à café/tsp almond extract – If you prefer a stronger almond taste you can add 1/2 cuillère à café/tsp.
2 cuillières à soupe/Tbsp brown rum
2 butter puff pastry sheets (25 cm or 10” inch diameter)
2 apples for baking (optional)
2 egg yolks
1- Preheat the oven to 180ºC or 350ºF.
Prepare the custard:
2- Boil the milk with the vanilla bean cut lengthwise in two.
3- Mix the egg yolks with the powdered sugar and the cornstarch until you get a white and creamy texture.
4- Pour the milk in the mix and stir to avoid lumps.
5- Pour the liquid back in the fry pan on medium heat and stir energetically until the cream is thickened. Put aside and let it cool down.
Prepare the almond paste:
6- Mix the softened butter, powdered sugar, almond flour, cornstarch, eggs, almond extract, and rum.
7- Add the custard to the almond paste and mix well to obtain a homogeneous cream. Don’t forget to remove the vanilla bean!
8- Spread the puff pastry sheets on the countertop. Prick the bottom sheet with a fork.
9- Peal the apples and cut them in four. Make fine slices and arrange the apples in a circle on the bottom puff pastry sheet. Leave a two centimeters (2/3 inch) rim all around.
10- Spread the cream on top of the apples.
11- Hide the lucky charm in the cream. (optional)
12- Smear the edge of the dough with water.
13- Cover with the other puff pastry disk and press on the edge of the dough to stick both sides.
14- Brush the galette with the egg yolks to give a rich golden brown color when it bakes.
15- Make a hole in the middle of the galette to allow air to escape, otherwise the dough may swell and dry out. Draw streaks with the back of the knife to decorate. You can make any shape you desire; no need to make it too complicated, checked or diamond-shaped is perfect. If you have an artist’s soul you can make more elaborate designs, but make sure to draw evenly. 16- Place the galette in the oven for 40 min. and remove it when it has turned golden brown.
If you prefer a traditional galette des rois, don’t add the apples. The process is exactly the same. I hope you’ll enjoy the King’s cake. If you make it I would love to receive your pictures!
Don’t hesitate to send me your questions and comments!