Thursday, 13 January 2011

French galette

La galette des rois. Hands up who knows about this? I don't suppose many of you do. Somehow, it's one of these great French traditions which hasn't made it to the UK. Probably because France is traditionally a Catholic country and England Protestant. Anyway, here's one you'll want to embrace. I'm about a week late with it, bit it doesn't matter really. This is something which will cheer those of you who're feeling a little under the weather, a little down about what January has to offer. And if you don't have any mincemeat leftover, this is the one for you.

It is associated with the celebration of Epiphany. What it means in practice? You get to eat a lovely cake (scroll down to French King Cake to read more about it), nothing too fancy but very, very tasty. And there's even a fun bit to it. When you make the cake, you hide a ceramic figure in it. Whoever gets the trinket is the king for the day and gets to wear a golden crown (typically provided by the bakery who you buy the galette from!). Only here, there aren't any bakeries (don't get me started on the prices charged by a French bakery chain in London). So last night, when we sampled my first ever home-made galette des rois, there was no crown, and to be completely honest, there was no trinket either.

But what there was was the tastiest galette I have tasted in a while. Actually, the first galette I have tasted in a few years. And it was yum. The best bit? It's dead easy (if you cheat a little tiny bit and buy the pastry). So go on, you won't be disappointed. Try it out, for me, and I promise, you'll be the first making one next year.

  • 375g puff pastry
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 70g soft butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp almond essence

  • Beat one egg and the white of the second egg (keep the yolk for later) with the almonds, butter and sugar.
  • Add the flour and almond essence. Mix well.
  • Split your pastry in half and roll out one half (ideally in a round shape, about 25cm in diameter).
  • Spread the frangipane mix on the rolled out pastry, leaving a good 2cm all around.
  • Brush the pastry left apparent with a little water.
  • Place the trinket in the frangipane.
  • Cover with the leftover pastry (that you will have rolled out to a similar shape) and crimp the sides shut.
  • Make fine slits (not all the way through the pastry) with a sharp knife and little holes now and then (so some air can escape during cooking).
  • Brush with eff yolk.
  • Bake for 25min at 190degrees C.

It's simply delicious and is a brilliant tradition. It would typically bring all your close family together again, which is quite nice after the madness of Christmas. I still vividly remember when mum and I used to go spend the day at my grandparents to have some galette des rois. Brings a smile to my face.


mooncalf said...

Oh my goodness. It looks like a marzipan pie. I LVOE marzipan. And who doesn't love pie?

This is not at all conducive to January dieting at all...

50 and still trying to be Frugal .... said...

That looks much nicer to the any of the ones I ave sen in the shops. I think I prefer the square shape.
We haven't done one this year, I think as the boys have got older it has lost it's interest - they used to love it for the feves

Sue said...

Je sais la galette des rois! My French teacher made my class one a couple of years ago. C'était moi qui a trouvé la fève!

The Curious Cat said...

I've bookmarked this! It just might be the perfect dessert for a dinner I want to do soon! Sounds great! Might have to do a test one first of

Lucy said...

Oh my god that looks scrummy - is it a bit like a Bakewell Tart? Why did I think a Galette was a waffle?!

Rachel said...

Oh my word, that looks divine! I have heard of this (I think it's in one of my Nigella books) but never eaten or made it before. I'm going to have to change that very soon - I adore marzipan!

Melanie said...

One of the few traditions I'm missing here too... I should make one (but I have also decided to go on a 'diet'...)

Simone said...

It looks delicious with the shiny egg wash on top. I love almonds too! x

Angel Jem said...

I love the description of it in the comments as marzipan pie! It looks gorgeous and I must make some.... the Hairy Bikers had a recipe in their book . I just found your blog today and it looks lovely. May I call back another day?