27 January 2008

Galette du Roi

In France, around the time of the Feast of the Epiphany, one sees patisseries filled with galettes du roi to celebrate the gifts brought by the three kings to the infant Jesus. Several weeks later, the patisserires have emptied of these pastries, except the handful sold at reduced prices. It consists of flaky pastry filled with frangipane, in which is hidden the little figurine (originally porcelaine, now plastic) of a king. The one who receives the piece with the figurine becomes "king" for the day and must offer the next galette. (A similar tradition is held in some of the southern states, including Louisiana, which associates the cake with Mardi Gras.) It has a mild, not oversweet flavor (this is one of the nice things about pastry here--it is sweet enough, and no more), and the pastry is light and flaky. It goes perfectly with a steaming cup of Assam.

500g flaky pastry dough
250g of frangipane cream
1 egg
Porcelaine figurine

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Whip the eggs in a bowl. Roll out half the dough into a flat square. Pour the frangipane into the center in the shape of a circle of about 1-2 cm thickness. Brush the egg on the surrounding dough. Place the figurine anywhere in the cream. Flatten the other half of the dough into a square, and place firmly over the mixture. Cut the dough in a circle around the frangipane and press the edges. Brush egg over the dough. You may make criss-cross designs into the dough with the edge of a knife. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the dough rises and turns golden brown.

Bon appétit!
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