Monday, January 6, 2014

galette des rois + mini palmiers

First of all, a slightly belated happy new years to you all! I hope you had wonderful, safe, happy winter holidays. I spent the last few weeks mostly eating; I am pretty close to my upper limit for sweets but I managed to make room for one extra pastry post-Christmas. If you aren't totally burnt out from eating holiday treats, you might want to try a galette des rois, or a king cake.

I have been wanting to make this ever since I lived in Paris a few years ago. Each Janurary the Catholic holiday Epiphany is celebrated with either a fruit filled brioche, a gateau des rois, in Province, or a frangipane and puff pastry galette des rois in the north. When I first tried this tart I was worried that the filling was a slab of marzipan and I wasn't sure I would like it. But it's filled with frangipane, a softer, less sweet, fragrant almond paste. I was totally addicted, which was good since people serve galettes des rois in Paris pretty much all through January. I felt like there was a galette at every event I went to all month. The galette has a small bean or ceramic figurine inside and whoever gets it in their slice is the king or queen. Traditionally the king or queen is supposed to buy the next galette for everyone, so the celebration lasts well past Epiphany.

galette des rois:

one recipe puff pastry-I used one from foodbeam. It's easy to follow and Fanny explains the science of puff pastry beautifully, if you want to have a little food nerd moment over the majesty of domestic science.
one package of the best quality frozen puff pastry you can find. 

Roll out puff pastry on a well floured surface and cut out two circles (about 10-11 inches) using a dinner plate as a guide. Wrap up your dough circles in plastic wrap and chill until you are ready to assemble. 

adapted from here

100g butter
100g granulated sugar
100g almond flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla bean's innards
1 tsp high quality almond extract

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale, and then add all remaining ingredients, mixing at a lower speed until just combined. 

I like to sandwich the frangipane between two sheets of plastic wrap and form a circle roughly 2 inches smaller than the pastry circles. I refrigerate it until it is pretty firm and then peel the plastic wrap off and place in on the dough. I think this is the easiest way to assemble the tart, but you can also pipe the frangipane onto the dough with a very large piping tip if you prefer. 

Lay out one layer of puff pastry and pipe or place your frangipane on top. Hide a large dried bean in the frangipane, if you wish. Brush water around the exposed pastry to help seal the layers together. Lay the second dough circle on top. Score the top of the tart with a sharp knife (don't puncture all the way through the tart) in a spiral or chevron pattern. Brush the tart with a slightly beaten egg. Bake at 375C for about 30 minutes, or until deeply golden. 

Using your scraps: 
Puff pastry scraps are very handy to have around. Gather them in a pile and gently roll them out again. Roll shredded cheese into them and cut into thin strips to make tasty crackers, or add cinnamon and sugar and shape them into little twists. Or roll out the dough into a rectangle using sugar rather than flour to dust, fold both outer edges toward the center twice and slice into one centimeter thin slices. Dip each side in sugar again and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until the are deeply golden. 

Photo credit: Tyrel Hiebert

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