The nerd in me is really fascinated with cultural food traditions. I’ll admit I had never heard of galette des rois, “King’s cake” in French, until very recently, but just love the ritual around eating this cake. The cake is associated with the festival of Epiphany and takes its name from the biblical three kings. In France, it is celebrated in the month of January and ornately decorated galettes filled with almond cream are sold everywhere. A trinket or bean is baked inside the cake and whoever gets the feve gets to be king or queen for the day and wears a golden paper crown. I used David Lebowitz’s recipe, slightly adapted, and it was perfectly flakey, buttery and delicious. While I saw some galettes were filled with frangipane, I opted for creme d’amande, which is just simply almond flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Spring for the best puff pastry you can find– it really makes a difference. I used Dufour puff pastry and was able to find almond flour at my local Trader Joe’s.
We baked a little ceramic owl into the cake and even though he’s too young to eat this galette des rois, my little nephew was still crowned king for the day! Stay tuned to learn how to make your own gold paper crown!
- 1 cup of almond flour
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch
- pinch of salt
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons of rum
- 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract
Egg wash and Glaze Ingredients:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon of hot water
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with a hand mixer, combine almond flour, sugar, salt, corn starch and orange zest. Add butter and cream until completely incorporated. Add rum and almond extract and one egg and beat until incorporated. Add the second egg and beat until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate.
Defrost puff pastry according to package instructions. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry and using a plate or cake pan, trace a circle about 9 inches in diameter. Make two 9 inch circles. Place one circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Add almond filling and don’t forget to place a trinket or bean somewhere in the filling! Make sure there is about 1 inch of the pastry border exposed. Using your finger, wet the edge liberally with water and place the second puff pastry circle on top of the almond filling and press and seal the edges very well. Flute the edges using the back of a paring knife. Place in the refrigerator again until you are ready to bake the galette. It is important your puff pastry is cold when entering the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl and brush the top of the galette with egg yolk, being careful not to get any on the sides as this will inhibit the galette from puffing up. Decorate the top with a paring knife making any design you like. Poke 5 holes in the top to allow steam to escape while baking. I made the holes in the decorative lines so they were hidden.
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown all over. Combine the powdered sugar and tablespoon of hot water in a bowl and remove the galette and brush the glaze over the top. Return to the oven for another 1-2 minutes to create that shiny surface.
Allow the galette des rois to cool to room temperature or serve warm.
And whoever gets the trinket . . .
. . . gets the gold crown!
(images by HonestlyYUM)