Galette des Rois
Well I hope you have leapt out of bed and gave your puff pastry two more rolls this morning. Now you are ready to make the galette.
If you follow this blog you will know that I have written about galette des rois before. So instead of recounting the history of this cake, this post is a practical how to make one, no need to buy the book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with RecipesIf you have the book the recipe is p 64.
First you need puff pastry. You’re probably tempted to buy it, thinking it was too hard to make, well don’t and you’re wrong. Puff pastry is simple it just take time and while you are waiting for the pastry you can make the filling, which must be made in advance and then go back to checking your Twitter feed.
You need a cool kitchen and a set of scales. Mix 250g / 83/4 oz flour with 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Now weigh out the same amount of unsalted butter, then take about 30g / 1oz of the butter and rub it into the flour until mealy. Take 150ml / 2/3 cup of ice water, the advantage of living in Toronto in the winter, is that the water straight from the tap is ice cold, add a squeeze of lemon juice to the water and pour it over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the liquid is mixed in, then tip the mixture onto a cool surface.
Don’t be tempted to add more water even though it looks like you haven’t added enough.
Knead it, gathering up all the flour until, it forms a ball. Do this gently and it will come together in a couple of minutes. It should look something like this.
Cut a cross in the top of the dough, then wrap and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, attack the butter. place it between two sheets of parchment or was paper and beat it with a rolling pin, good for working out stress, until the butter is pliable. Shape it into a rough 15cm / 6in square. The reason for doing this is twofold: to shape the butter and have it the same consistency as the dough. Test the dough and the butter by pushing your finger into them, they should have the same consistency. If necessary, place the dough back into the refrigerator.
Rolling between the cross, roll out 4 flaps of dough, leaving the centre four times as thick as the flaps. Try to roll a rough square about 30cm / 12 in. Place the butter on top of the thicker dough centre, so it sits as a diamond on the square dough.
Tap the pastry square firmly with your rolling pin to seal the edges and flatten slightly.
Roll into a rectangle about 45×15 cm / 18×6 in trying to keep the edges of the pastry as straight as you can. Now fold the pastry into three, from the short end, as you would fold a letter, then turn the pastry 90 degrees so the open end is towards you. Tap the pastry with the rolling pin to seal and flatten.
Roll out again into a rectangle and fold into three. Press two fingers into the pastry to indicate that you have given it two turns. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While you are waiting you can make the filling for the galette. It is a frangipane, a rich almond filling that needs to be refrigerated overnight to firm up.
You need 100g / 31/2oz each of unsalted butter, caster (superfine) sugar and ground almonds, a pinch of fine sea salt, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon aged rum or Cognac. Place the butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and process until well mixed. Add the almonds, and flour and process to blend. Whisk the eggs, then set aside two tablespoons of egg mixture (this will be for the egg wash so cover ad refrigerate). Add the rum to the remaining egg mixture and pour over the almond mixture. Process until well mixed. It will resemble a batter, turn into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
Take your pastry out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature and roll it into a rectangle again, fold it and turn at as before, so giving it another two turns. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The puff pastry needs two more rollings before using. You could continue the rolling after letting it rest at least one hour, in the refrigerator, but you would have had to make the filling the day before.
So check back tomorrow (Epiphany) for part 2.
As with many religious holidays, Epiphany has lost most of its original meaning and the galette des rois is now eaten throughout the month of January, not only on the 6th, which means you have time to enjoy one. There is a recipe on p64 in my book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes or you might be lucky enough to have a French bakery nearby where you can buy one. The fun of a galette is that une fève, originally a dried bean but now a ceramic figurine, is hidden in the cake. If you happen to find yourself in the Montparnasse area of Paris there is a small store on rue de la Gaité with a fine collection of old ceramic fèves in the window. Today, fèves range from the traditional to the modern inspired by everything from cartoons to television shows, however I find Star Academy, (a French TV talent quest) fèves a bit too much.
And the person who discovers a fève in their slice of galette? Well, he or she is crowned king or queen for the day, an honorary title that simply let’s them wear the cardboard crown sold with the cake.