For an extra special treat to round off your Christmas festivities, bake this Galette des Rois recipe. Whereas Christmas Eve is all about oysters and foie gras and rich cooking, January 6th is all about this lovely cake which is also known as a king cake or Epiphany Cake. Walk past any Patisserie shop or Boulangerie in France post-Christmas and these cakes will be on sale.
The cake is made of homemade almond cream filling sandwiched between two delicate, buttery layers of puff pastry and is remarkably easy to make.
The custom of King Cake in France is to nestle a fava bean, or le feve, inside the rich filling and crown the finder as the "king" or "queen" of the evening. Make sure to warn your fellow diners if you take up the tradition of le feve, you do not want them biting down hard on the bean or worse still unsuspectingly, to swallow it. Children love to play this custom, but again be careful.
- For the Cinnamon Almond Cream Filling:
- 1/2 cup ground almond meal
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 free-range egg
- 3 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- For the Cake:
- 1 (17-ounce) package puff pastry (thawed)
- 1 batch homemade frangipane
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Optional: 1 dried fava (broad bean) bean
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
To Make Cinnamon Almond Cream Filling
Using a food processor, combine the first seven ingredients until a smooth, creamy paste is formed.
For the Galette Des Rois
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Roll out the sheets of puff pastry and cut out two 11-inch circles. Place one of the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon the frangipane on the puff pastry and spread it to within 1 1/2 inches of the edge of the circle.
If desired, hide the bean in the almond cream filling.
Place the second pastry circle on top of the almond filling, crimping or pressing the edges of the pastry to seal the cake. Using a sharp knife, score a decorative pattern in the top layer of the pastry, without cutting through to the almond filling.
Brush the galette des rois with the beaten egg and bake it for 15 minutes. Dust the cake with the powdered sugar and bake it for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until it turns golden brown. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet. If desired, top the cake before serving with a round of gold paper to be used as the "crown" for the diner who finds le feve, or the bean.
Make sure to warn your fellow diners to eat carefully if you are taking part in le feve tradition. Cut the galette des rois into even slices, and crown the one who finds the fava bean as the "king" or "queen" with the gold paper round atop the cake.
Serve the rich pieces of cake with cafe creme or cafe au lait to help cut the sweetness of the dessert.