Galette des Rois (King Cake)

Le gâteau des Rois, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1774 (Musée Fabre)

Le gâteau des Rois, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1774 (Musée Fabre)

I found this recipe for the Northern France version of King Cake after a friend commented on how yummy it looked. It is very easy to make and may be modified (I have added filling options below) to suit anyone’s palette and occasion. The name Gateau des Rois or Galette des Rois depends upon the region of France – North or South – and the cake style is quite different as well. This recipe is simple, less sweet and more versatile than it’s Brioche based cousin. The history of this cake is quite fascinating as well. 

The “king cake” takes its name from the biblical three kings. In Catholic liturgical tradition, the Solemnity of Epiphany – commemorated on January 6 – celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Eve of Epiphany (the night of January 5) is popularly known as Twelfth Night (the Twelve Days of Christmas are counted from Christmas Eve until this night). The season for king cake extends from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Twelfth Night and Epiphany Day), up until Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday;” the day before the start of Lent. Some organizations or groups of friends may have “king cake parties” every week through the Carnival season. In Portugal and France, whoever gets the King cake trinket (la fève) is expected to buy the next cake for these get-togethers.  Wikipedia

**  Please note: this is a very rich dish…but be free to indulge, Galette qualifies as “don’t worry about it – just enjoy it” food!

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Galette des Rois (Traditional Northern French King Cake)
Prep Time
1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs
 
This is based on the traditional "Northern" French version of Galette des Rois (aka King Cake)...a little different than the now famous New Orleans version.
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Seika Groves
Ingredients
  • 1 pound puff pastry divided in two pieces, chilled but pliable
  • piece One whole almond or of candied/dried fruit for the fève this may be omitted prize
Almond Filling
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Zest of 1/2 orange organic is best as they are not sprayed
  • 3 1/2 ounces unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Alternate Filling Option
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese drained overnight
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp orange or lemon zest organic fresh grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • in Soft fruit of choice options listed below FOOTNOTES
Glaze
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp milk whisk together
Instructions
Almond Filling
  1. In a medium bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the almond flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Incorporate butter until mixture is creamy. Add eggs one at a time mixing well. Add rum and almond extract. (The mixture may not look completely smooth, which is normal.) Cover and place in refrigerator to chill.
Alternate Filling
  1. Drain cheese overnight in a strainer over a bowl. The strainer should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Place a layer of plastic wrap over cheese and a plate on top of the plastic wrap to act as a weight. Remove from refrigerator discard liquid. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, heat the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the water until amber approx. 20-25 minutes. Add the apples or other fruit and stir to combine. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Once fruit begins to soften (time will depend on type of fruit) add the remaining 2 tablespoons water and salt. Cook until tender, and fruit retains a chunky consistency. Set aside to cool.This filling may be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Pastry
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of puff pastry larger then 9 1/2-inches round. Using a pot lid, plate, or bottom of spring form pan as a template, trim the dough into neat circle. Place the dough on the baking sheet. Cover it with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic film, then roll the other piece of dough into a circle, trim it, and lay it on top. Chill the dough for thirty minutes.
Putting it all together
  1. Remove the dough and almond filling from the refrigerator. Spoon filling into the centre of the dough and working outwards to the edges leaving approx. one inch exposed border. Place the whole almond or piece of fruit (la fève) somewhere in the almond filling, if you wish.
  2. Brush with egg wash mixture around the exposed perimeter of the dough then place the other circle of dough on top of the galette and press down to seal the edges and flute using the tip of a spoon like a pie crust or if you prefer you may leave open although filling will spread during cooking to the ends. Return to refrigerator and cool for 30 minutes.
Baking
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Use remaining egg wash and brush evenly over the top – avoid getting the glaze on the sides, which will inhibit the pastry from rising at the edges. Use a paring knife or fork to poke holes in the top to allow steam to escape during baking. Bake for 30 minutes. Slide galette off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. Galette will deflate as it cools don't panic this is normal. Serve warm or at room temperature sprinkled with a little powdered sugar if preferred.
Recipe Notes

This galette is very versatile. You may substitute with the ricotta cream recipe above using soft fruits such as apple, peach, raspberry, strawberry, mandarin orange, black berry honey & lavender etc.. the ricotta cream will hold up during the baking process. You may also substitute the fresh fruit in the additional filling recipe with quality chunky fruit preserves. This version using prepared preserves requires no cooking. Simply mix fruit preserves with cheese adjust sweetness to taste with Sugar, Honey, Agave* or Stevia* and bake as directed.
* ALWAYS follow measurement substitution directions for Agave & Stevia as they differ greatly from other sweeteners.

 

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