Galette des Rois or “King Cake” is a French Christmas tradition, eaten on January 6th, or Epiphany. It is essentially puff pastry filled with frangipane. Just in case anyone felt the need to do some (very) last minute seasonal baking I thought I had better get this recipe up fast before tomorrow. Not that you need to limit yourself to Epiphany, the French actually eat these for the whole of January but I’m a traditionalist at heart. Well, not too traditional actually, I went with the Hairy Bikers’ recipe, which includes a lovely layer of raspberry jam. I couldn’t resist! One traditional aspect I kept was la fève which is usually a figurine that is hidden in the cake, in this case it is an almond, for ease of eating and to minimise choking hazards! Whoever gets la fève in their slice becomes king for the day. (See this article for some fun history regarding Twelth Night and Misrule.)
500g puff pastry
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g ground almonds
2 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp raspberry jam
1 whole almond (if your almond has skin put it in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes, the skin will then pop right off)
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200C
– In a medium sized mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
– Add the eggs, keeping back about 2 tbsp for brushing, and the vanilla. Beat until smooth.
– Add the ground almonds and flour, mix until smooth.
– Roll out half of the puff pastry until it is the size of a dinner plate.
– Cut round a plate as a template to make a circle of pastry.
– Place this pastry on a lined baking tray.
– Roll out the second half of the pastry to the same size.
– Score this half of the pastry with whatever pattern you desire.
– Spoon the raspberry jam into the centre of the pastry ont he tray and spread out leaving a gap of about 4cm round the edge.
– Spoon the frangipane on top and nestle the whole almond in somewhere.
– Brush egg around the border you have left.
– Carefully place the second sheet of pastry on top.
– Press down firmly around the edge to seal. *
– Roughen the edges of the pastry with a sharp knife. (Hold the knife at a 90 degree angle and sort of tap the pastry, this encourages the layers to separate and rise nicely.)
– Brush the top with egg, avoid brushing the sides as this will interupt the rise of the pastry.
– Place in the centre of the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.
– Take out and either serve warm or cool. Don’t forget to have a crown ready for your “King”.
* No, really. I didn’t take the proper care to seal about 2″ of my Galette, as a result frangipane escaped everywhere! Although, I have to say it made a lovely dinner as I just ate that with an extra spoon of jam! It does mean that one side of my Galette isn’t too pretty and may even be hollow in places so take care.
(And can I just admit down here at the end just how proud I am of that decoration. I took a gamble and went well outside my comfort zone and it worked so well!!)