A few days after my first Christmas spent in France, I began to see these interesting puff pastry pies popping up in bakeries and supermarkets all over Saintes, bearing the majestic name 'Galette des Rois' or 'King's Cake' in plain old English. I was a little intrigued as to why a country that got rid of their monarchy many years ago would be celebrating it.
After some hasty Internet research, I discovered that the King in question is actually Jesus, and that the galette is the rather commercialised part of the Christian Epiphany celebration. As French tradition would have it, a small ceramic object, la feve, is hidden in the Galette des Rois and after the distribution of slices the person that finds the feve becomes the King or Queen.
Always up for becoming Queen for a day,and not too impressed with the unappetising galettes available at our local supermarket, I decided to try making my own. Unfortunately my plan backfired as it was Cheri that came across the feve and not me, but I think we both agreed the galette in itself was a success!
Recette: Galette des Rois
Using a normal-sized round plate, cut out two circles from two sheets of ready-made puff pastry.
In a large bowl, whisk 75g soft unsalted butter to a cream with 75g icing sugar. Mix in 75g ground almonds, followed by 1 egg, 1 egg yolk and 1 tbsp cognac. Mix until smooth and then cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Place on pastry disc on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Spoon the almond cream into the centre and spread into an even circle leaving a 4cm border. Brush some beaten egg glaze over the border and carefully drape the other pastry circle over the top, pressing on the border to seal the edge. Score the edge all around with the back of a knife to completely seal the pastry.
Brush the top of the galette with the rest of the glaze, avoiding the outside edge. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before using the knife once more to score the galette and create a nice spiral pattern.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown, leave to cool slightly and serve.