Galette de Rois

The 6th January means it’s Twelfth Night and all the Christmas decorations must come down.  Something I find rather depressing to be honest  – it feels rather like undoing Christmas   Then I remember that 6th January is actually Epiphany which used to be, in the past, a day of celebration on par with Christmas  Day itself. But most importantly Epiphany to me means Galette de Rois.

This rather unprepossessing “cake” is supposedly made to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings at Bethlehem.  It actually isn’t a cake as we would think of one, it’s buttery puff pastry filled with almond frangipane cream and, in my version, fresh pears. It really is absolutely yummy.  You need to make one – diets don’t count on feast days after all (I have that on good authority from an Irish clergyman I know) !

In France it is the centre of the main fun of the day.   They serve the Galette with a gold paper crown on top and put a charm in the Galette (a bean or a China figure) and the person who finds it becomes king or queen for the day and wears the crown – and then everyone has to do as they command.  I am sure you can imagine how riotous that could turn out to be – particularly if you are the one wearing the crown!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 400g puff pastry, preferably all butter
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

for the filling

  • 100g butter, unsalted, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour (I use 00 for a lighter result)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 8

Method

  1. Turn oven on to 180c
  2. Cream together butter and sugar
  3. Add eggs gradually, whisking well between each addition.
  4. Fold in flour and ground almonds
  5. Roll out pastry and cut both a 20cm and a 22cm circle (I use plates to do this)
  6. Put half the frangipane on the smaller disc which you’ve placed on a baking sheet, and spread the almonds out so there is a 2cm clear gap from the outer edge
  7. Arrange the pears in a circle fanning out from the middle and then spread the remaining frangipane over the top still keeping the gap.
  8. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg and then put over the larger circle.  Seal the edges pressing down on them with the tines of a fork
  9. Make a small hole in centre of pastry lid and with the back of a knife – not cutting through the pastry – mark out a pattern of your choice.  Glaze with more of the beaten egg.
  10. Bake in oven for 25-30 mins till golden brown
  11. Try to wait until room temperature before eating the Galette with cream, or my favourite, whisky icecream

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1 Comment

  1. Love this Rosie– what a beautiful tradition. We don’t celebration Epiphany here– But it was a big event when we lived in Spain. We would buy “Roscco de Reyes” pastries– filled with cream and dried fruits– sometimes they would have a small figure of the baby Jesus hidden in the cream! And there was a Kings Day Parade the night before in most towns and cities– The floats of children and the 3 kings would throw candy to the observers– big fun for our kids! I miss our Spanish holidays. And I wish I had a slice of this cake! Your baking is superb Rosie!! hugs hugs!

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