Posts Tagged ‘galette des rois’

Galette des rois with almonds and apple sauce

6 January 2022

Was it acceptable to eat a galette des rois on Tuesday 4th January 2022?

My former self never thought of galette before the 6th, which is the official date of Epiphany. For Christians, it is the 12th day of Christmas on which Jesus was presented to the magi (wise men, or ‘kings’). For us heathens, Epiphany is the excuse for galette. I was always scrupulously attached to the date, but this year, things are different. Enticed by my father who mentioned they were having a galette on Sunday (last Sunday), I decided to shatter conventions and invite friends over for an end-of-the-holidays, delayed-return-to-school, afternoon galette goûter on Tuesday. In France it is acceptable to eat galette anytime in January, is it not?!

Not so simple. My friends immediately accepted, though they were, I learned, a little confused by the invitation. Galette on the 4th? Was this acceptable? We did the research. As it turns out, like a number of countries in which Epiphany is not a bank holiday, France, since the Concordat of 1801, benefits from an official exception awarded by the Catholic church to celebrate Epiphany on the Sunday (i.e. nonworking day) that falls between the 2nd and the 8th of January. It has therefore been acceptable, this year, to eat galette since Sunday 2nd January — Phew!

In any case, it is advised to continue buying, baking, eating, and sharing galettes until the end of the month.

You can find more galette stories and traditions here and here.

After the classic version with almond filling, and a venerable one with poached pears, I have cracked the almond and apple sauce recipe attempted last year. Here it is!

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Galette des rois with almonds and apple sauce
For a galette about 30 cm (12″) in diameter
I make a very tart unsweetened apple sauce, as anything else would be too sweet.

2 sheets puff pastry (best, pure-butter, store-bought kind, or self-made)
75g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
At least 6 very tart apples (Russet are great)
100g (1 cup) whole almonds (for this galette I like whole almonds with the peel that are home ground, but for ease almond flour would work too)
75 g (1/3 cup) sugar
25g candied orange or citrus peel, or zest from 1/2 orange
Pinch salt
1 egg
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp rum

1 egg yolk and 2 Tbsps milk for the eggwash
1 fève (dried fava bean or small porcelain figurine)

Take the puff pastry out of the freezer, if applicable.
Let the butter soften in a warm spot (not too hot, it shouldn’t melt!) until it becomes easy to beat with a spoon.

Meanwhile make the applesauce. Cut, core, and peel the apples in quarters. Cut each quarter in half crosswise. Place the prepared apples in a saucepan, with a milimeter of water at the bottom to help it not stick. Cook the apples over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until all the chunks are soft. Take off the heat and set aside.

Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse grind until fine. Add the sugar and, if using, the finely cut candied fruit or the orange zest, and process a few minutes longer.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy.

Add the almond/sugar mix to the butter and mix well before beating in the eggs, one at a time, combining each thoroughly into the batter. Stir in the salt, almond extract, and rum. Refrigerate if possible (Anywhere from half an hour and up to 24h until ready to use.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into two circles of the same size (about 30 cm or 12″). Use a tarte dish or other to trim the circles into neat edges.

Place one circle of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the almond cream on the dough, leaving an edge of about 1 cm (1/2 inch) along the circumference. Place the fève randomly onto the cream. Spread a layer of apple sauce on top of the almond cream. (There may be some left over, all the better!)

Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of milk lightly with a fork. Brush the egg wash along the circumference of the dough. Carefully place the second round of dough on top and press along the edge thoroughly to seal. (Reserve the rest of the egg wash in the fridge.)

Place the assembled galette in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or overnight).

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C) and remove the galette from the refrigerator. With a sharp knife, etch a design onto the galette, then brush generously with the rest of the egg wash.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown.

Serve warm (lightly reheated if necessary). The person who finds the fève is queen, or king, for the day!

Galette des rois with poached pears and frangipane

6 January 2021

January 6.

An upgrade on the simple frangipane Galette des rois, which I wrote about a few years ago, this year I added poached pears. Actually I made two galettes, one with apple sauce and frangipane and blackcurrant jam, which sounds great but ended up too sweet — everyone agreed it would have been best just with applesauce, basically a giant ‘chausson aux pommes’ (a puff pastry pocket filled with apple sauce, a staple of every French patisserie), but that is straying too far from the spirit of galette, which in my mind needs almonds, non-negotiably. The winner is the galette with poached pears.

This year I also discovered a new home-made puff pastry recipe. I usually buy puff pastry if I can find the pure butter kind, but, unlike in France where it is a staple in every supermarket, or Switzerland where puff pastry can be bought at night in a snowstorm on a motorway stop (true story!), puff pastry can’t always be found on every street (or Autobahn) corner. And so I had to make my own. Cue the discovery of David Lebovitz’ Quick Puff Pastry, hidden under cover of his French Apple Tart. The recipe really is easy and works beautifully, even when quadrupled for 2 galettes, each with a top and bottom.

And so too a reminder that while Galettes des rois mark the celebration of Epiphany on the 6th of January, galettes and crowns and small children squatting under the table (read about the ritual here) aren’t confined to just one day, they should last, gleefully, all month.

Galette des Rois with poached pears and frangipane
Recipe for one galette about 30 cm (12″) in diameter

2 sheets of puff pastry (store-bought pure butter puff or this easy recipe, in which case double the quantity)

Poached pears
3 pears
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
150 ml water
1 slice of lemon

Frangipane (almond cream)
90 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
70 g (1/3 cup) sugar
100 g (1 cup) ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
Zest from half a small lemon
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp rum
fève (dried fava bean or small porcelain figurine)

1 egg yolk and 1 Tbsp milk for the eggwash

The pears — Peel, core, and cut the pears into quarters. In a small-ish saucepan, heat the sugar and water until boiling. Add the pear quarters and the slice of lemon and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile make the frangipane — In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, almonds, and salt. Add this to the butter and mix well before beating in the egg until thoroughly combined. Stir in the lemon zest, almond extract, and rum. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assembly — On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into two circles of the same size (about 30 cm or 12″). Use a pie dish or plate to trim the circles into neat edges.

Place one circle of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the frangipane on the dough, leaving an edge of a good 1 cm (1/2 inch) along the circumference. Place the fève randomly on the frangipane. Now cut each pear quarter lengthwise into two or three (depending on their size), and fan out in one layer onto the frangipane to cover it completely.

Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons milk lightly with a fork. Brush the egg wash along the circumference of the pastry kept free of frangipane and pear. Carefully place the second round of pastry on top and press along the edge thoroughly to seal. Using a sharp knife, make a design on the galette (carefully, without cutting through, except for a small whole in the middle to let the steam out while baking). Gently brush the whole galette with the remaining egg wash.

Place the assembled galette in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or overnight).

Baking — When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (375°F) and remove the galette from the refrigerator.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown.

Serve warm (lightly reheated if necessary) according to the following ritual —

The youngest child (person) hides under the table. The pieces of cake are distributed as the name of each person present is called out ‘blindly.’ Beware of the fève when eating the cake! The person who gets is queen (or king) for the day!

Galette des rois (King’s cake)

8 January 2014

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‘For whom is this piece?’

The cake has been cut, one piece already slid under the cake knife. The youngest child is giggling under the table, the family above huddled auspiciously around the redolent cake. The crown is ready. The ritual has begun.

Monday 6 January was Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King’s Day, which in the Christian tradition celebrates the arrival of the three wise men (‘kings’) Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, bearing gifts for Jesus. In a typical amalgamation of customs, it is also — or foremost? — the day of the king’s cake, a traditional confection in which is hidden a coin, bean, or small figurine. Meaning is attached to finding the token. Depending on the tradition, it may bring luck, assign you to be the organizer of the next party, or make you king for the day, a custom that apparently derives from the Roman Saturnalia, a winter festival rife with role playing during which the king of festivities was chosen by lot, with a bean.

In France we play like this: Everyone gathers around the galette as the youngest person hides under the table. The host cuts the cake and distributes the pieces according to the injunction of the hidden guest, who, in no specific order, calls out the name of each person present. This ensures that the piece with the token is given out at random. The cake is eaten circumspectly, with furtive poking and prodding, until someone finds the fève, and everyone can go about their business of just enjoying the pastry. The king is crowned and chooses his queen (or vice versa).

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For many years I didn’t make galette, I loved trying out bakeries to compare and contrast and find the best one. (Have I mentioned that we French eat galettes throughout January?) Then one day, I baked one. Or at least partially. I bought good puff pastry and made the almond cream. It was so ridiculously easy I was practically embarrassed. It also made for a better galette than most store-bought kinds. So I started making galettes. Kind of. Then, unexpectedly, this year, after decades of shying away from puff pastry (is it really worth the effort?), on a whim, I dove into the deep end — and I am not looking back.

Dan Lepard’s all-butter English puff pastry is, in his words, really not that hard to make. I agree!

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Recipe

Making galette can be anywhere from super easy to quite time-consuming, depending on how much is self-made. The ultra-quick version uses good store-bought puff pastry and ready ground almonds. The most hands on take makes puff pastry from scratch and grinds almonds on the spot. Depending on the mood.

The filling can be enough for 2 galettes about 30 cm (12″) in diameter

Puff pastry, 2 sheets per galette (best, pure-butter, store-bought kind, or self-made)

180 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter

180 g (1 cup) sugar

200 g (2 cups) almonds (or ready-ground almond flour)

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

Zest from 1 small lemon

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 Tbsp Armagnac (or, more traditionally, rum)

1 egg yolk and 2 Tbsps milk for the eggwash

1 fève (dried fava bean or small porcelain figurine)

Take the butter out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.

To prepare the almond flour (if making from scratch), first blanch the almonds: Bring a couple of cups of water to boil, pour over the almonds to just cover, let steep for 1 minute, then strain the water and immediately remove the skins from the almonds. Once all the skins are removed, place the almonds in a food processor and pulse chop until very fine. Alternatively, use store-bought ground almonds (= almond flour).

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy.

In another bowl, mix the sugar, almonds, and salt. Add this to the butter and mix well before beating in the eggs, one at a time, combining each thoroughly into the batter. Stir in the lemon zest, almond extract, and Armagnac. Refrigerate. [The almond cream can be refrigerated for a few hours until ready to use.]

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into two circles of the same size (about 30 cm or 12″). Use a tarte dish or other to trim the circles into neat edges.

Place one circle of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread a good layer of almond cream on the dough, leaving an edge of about 1 cm (1/2 inch) along the circumference. Place the fève randomly onto the cream.

Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons milk lightly with a fork. Brush the egg wash along the circumference of the dough. Carefully place the second round of dough on top and press along the edge thoroughly to seal.

Place the assembled galette in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or overnight).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F (180°C) and remove the galette from the refrigerator. With a sharp knife, etch a design onto the galette, then brush generously with the egg wash.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown.

Serve warm (lightly reheated if necessary).


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