Growing up in France, January was the month for the tasty “galette des rois”. A traditional puff pastry galette filled with “frangipane” and hiding a small trinket, this cake would be enjoyed by most families several times in the course of the month. Whether at their home or at a friend’s house or just during a friendly gathering, the galette is THE dessert in January. The lucky guest who finds the trinket in his or her slice is declared king or queen for the day and wears the paper crown that comes with the cake.
The Kings or Magi, it refers to are of course the three Wise Men (Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar) who, we are told, arrived to baby Jesus bearing gifts (Gold, Myrrh, Incense) on January 6th.
I have been making this for my family for many, many years (see here and here) and we cherish the annual appearance of the galette at our table. It is an easy and delicious dessert but reserved for those who do not have a nut allergy, since “frangipane’s” main ingredient is ground almonds.
Here is my go-to recipe:
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds, finely ground
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
300g puff pastry (Dufour is an excellent choice)
Roll out half of pastry dough (you can use leftover for a small tart or to decorate top of your galette) and cut the shape with an inverted tart pan.
Make your “frangipane” filling:
Mix ground almonds with butter until smooth, add sugar, vanilla, egg, (one TBsp of rum if you wish) and almond extract. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
Pour and spread on your circle of dough and add your “feve”. We chose from our collection…
(DO NOT GIVE TO VERY YOUNG CHILDREN : CHOKING HAZARD!!) If you do not have a feve, use a dry bean and still be careful with young children!
Cover with second pastry dough circle. Squeeze edges shut with your fingers. Cut out small shapes to decorate top.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While pie is refrigerated, preheat oven to 350F.
Spread eggwash (one egg and a tbsp water) onto the pie.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
Slice and serve! (In France, the younger child will usually sit under the table and blindly choose the person to whom each slice should be given to. The distribution MUST be random so everyone has a chance to become king or queen!!
ENJOY and HAPPY EPIPHANY!