January 5, 2012

Celebrate January 6 ~ Three Kings Day ~ Galette des Rois Recipe & Tradition

I'm more excited than a squirrel on a trampoline (feel free to take a moment to visualize) to be sharing with you my most favorite sweet treat of all time -- Galette de Rois.

Every year my family celebrates Epiphany (a.k.a. Twelfth Night and Three Kings Day) on January 6 by gathering with a small group of friends to share in the tradition of the King Cake. Every year, since the girls were very little, they have enjoyed assembling our King Cake -- an easy Pull-Apart version of the New Orleans style cake (Recipe HERE).  


The girls will carry on their tradition tomorrow, but in addition I'll be making the traditional Twelfth Night cake of France~ Galette de Rois.

If I could use only one word to describe this incredible dessert, it would be 'delicate'.  The light and flaky puff pastry surrounds an exquisitely delicate frangipane filling, so subtle that the almond is a soft whisper that evokes more floral notes than nut.  

The Galette des Rois is the perfect dessert to bring to a dinner party any time of the year. The pastry is impressive and professional-looking, but is relatively simple and quick to make.

On January 6, we adorn the cake with a homemade paper crown.  When the cake is ready to be served, it is sliced and a small charm, dried bean or coin is slipped inside one of the pieces. The guest that ends up with the "charmed" piece is King or Queen for the day and gets to take home the crown.

Galette des Rois
French King Cake
adapted from the Nadine Bezard recipe on foodnetwork.com
Makes 2 galettes

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon real almond extract
1 cup blanched slivered almonds, finely ground
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 packages (for a total of 4 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator until ready to use
Egg wash consisting of 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 Tablespoon cold water
1 charm, coin or dried bean

Step 1:  Arrange oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2:  Step 1:  Grind the blanched slivered almonds in the bowl of a food processor until you have a fine meal.

Step 3: With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add eggs and almond extract and beat to combine.

Step 4:  On low, gently stir in the ground almonds and flour to combine.  Set aside.

Step 5:  On a lightly floured, cool surface, unfold a sheet of puff pastry.  Use a 9 1/2" dinner plate as a template to cut a circle with a sharp knife.  Place pastry circle on the parchment lined baking sheet. 

Step 6:  Brush perimeter of pastry circle with egg wash.  Spread half of the filling evenly on the pastry, leaving about a 1" border. I prefer to add my charm during serving, but if you'd like to bake yours in (as many do) this is the time to place it in the filling.

Step 7: Cut second pastry circle in the same fashion as the first.  Place the second circle on top of the first, matching the edges.  Press all around the edges to help them stick together.  Decorate the galette with a fork, by pressing the tines of a fork lightly around the edges (but not all the way through).

Step 8:  With the point of a sharp knife, make a design in the top of the galette, taking care not to go all the way through the pastry.  

Step 9:  Brush the surface with egg wash, being careful not to let any run off the edges.

Step 10:  Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.  Bake both galettes on the center rack of a 450 degree F oven for 15 minutes.  Then, reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 25 minutes.  Serve warm or cold.

You can find the tutorial for the paper crown HERE.

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  1. Gorgeous, as always. This year I decided to try my hand at a Dreikonigskuchen (German Three Kings Cake) for our Feast of Befana tonight. And I'll be doing a Spanish Epiphany bread for tomorrow morning. I'll put the Galette de Rois on the list for next year!

  2. This is simply GORGEOUS and sounds delicious. And of course I can't wait for the crown tutorial too! Happy Three Kings Day!

  3. Oh this is fantastic!!!! I HAVE to make this and the crown is a MUST also!!

  4. This looks great. I'm definitely going to try it. Thanx 4 sharing!!!

  5. We used to make a cake like this all the time when I was a child. We'd put a little figurine inside it, and it was such a treat to be the one to find it. I'm going to try this recipe - my daughter would love to find the "treasure" :)

  6. I thoroughly enjoy this...and thanks for letting us share it with you!


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