Saturday, January 8, 2011

La Galette des Rois 2011 (with recipe)

Epiphany was last Thursday (Jan 6th) and I had been asked (and volunteered) to make a galette des rois for my children to bring to school since every year, they have the traditional galette in every grade. In the Pre-K grades, one of the week activities is to make a couronne. Every child gets to wear his/hers after eating the galette, even if he/she did not get the fève! I saw a few confused parents after school on Thursday who did not really understand why their children were wearing a beautiful crown that day!!

As I wrote last year, la galette des rois, is really one of my husband's pastry specialties... so I was assuming that he was going to make them (I had asked him before and he had agreed!) To make things simplier, we decided not to make the pastry puff ourselves but to purchase some frozen one instead. Here comes Wednesday late afternoon. I call my husband at work to get a better idea of when he is coming back, reminding him that he had to make two galettes des rois... only to hear that he has so much work that he won't be home until way-too-late to even think of making les galettes des rois! That meant only one thing: I had to make them!! Had I known that a few days before, I would have spread the work over two/three evenings, which would have made the whole process much more efficient. Since I only found out at the last minute, I made the whole filling and the galettes that evening. I froze them overnight and baked one early Thursday morning and the other one on Friday morning (for my daughter's class) before school.
Making the filling is not difficult at all. It's just time-consuming because you have to wait for the custard (crème pâtissière) to be fully cold to mix it with the almond filling. At least, now I know and I'll be more prepared for the next galettes des rois to come!
For once, and because my husband is too busy searching for money (before he can start searching for macula-degeneration cure), I think that we'll break the January-only tradition of the galette des rois and make some to share with our friends in February and March. Nothing wrong with me because, unlike  people in France these days of the year, it's not like we are eating galettes des rois a few times a week in Philadelphia! Maybe we should?  Bon Appetit!!
- 2 frozen sheets of puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm and it worked great)
- 1 fève/tinket

 For the Crème Pâtissière
- 250ml (1 cup or 8.45 oz) whole milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, sliced open and scrapped.
- 3 egg yolks
- 75 gr (2.64 oz) sugar
- 20 gr (0.7 oz) corn starch

For the Crème d'amandes
- 85 gr (3oz) butter
- 85 gr (3oz) almond flour
- 85 gr (3 oz) powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 8.5 gr (0.3 oz) corn starch
- 1 ts rhum or almond extract.

  • Day 1 : Make the crème pâtissière and the crème d'amandes
    • In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil together with the vanilla bean (you would have scratched the pods into the milk first)
    • In a bowl, stir the sugar and egg yolks together until light and fluffy.
    • Add corn starch (but do not stir)
    • Pour the boiling milk onto the egg-sugar-corn starch and gently mix.
    • Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook the crème for a few minutes, constantly stirring. As soon as it thickens, take it off the stove. 
    • Pour the crème pâtissière into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (the plastic should touch the cream so that no crust is formed). Chill overnight.
  • For the Crème d'amandes
    • Work the butter with a spatula, so that it becomes almost creamy.
    • Add the almond flour, the powdered sugard and one egg at a time.  You should have a smooth batter.
    • Add the corn starch, rhum (or almond extract) and stir. Reserve in the fridge.
  • Day 2 (morning if baking the same evening): Combine the two crèmes and prepare the galette
    • Thaw the pastry sheets according to instructions
    • Spoon the crème pâtissière into the crème d'amandes
    • Spread the pastry sheets over a lightly floured top. You want to make two circles of about 11 inches (28 cm) in diameter. 
    • With a brush, brush some egg white along the edge of the bottom circle. That would be the "glue" for the two sheets.
    • Spread some of the filling onto the first circle, starting from the center of the circle and not going to the edges. INSERT THE FEVE/TINKET!!
    • Put the top circle on top of the filling. Use a fork to seal the two circles and to make marks on the top of the galette (for decoration).
    • Freeze overnight (or at least for a few hours.)
  • Day 2 (evening) or Day 3: Bake the galette
    • Pre-heat oven to 465F (240 C).
    • Brush one egg yolk over the galette
    • Bake the galette for 10 mn
    • Bring temperature down to 390F (200C) and cook for 20 mn
    • Open the oven door, dust a little bit of powdered sugar on top of the galette and bake for an extra 5 minutes.
    • Cool on a rack. 
My Personal comments:
  • Because I did not wait long enough for the crème pâtissière to be really cold, my filling was on the liquid side. I had therefore too much. I used the extra puff pastry to make individual galettes.
  • You could make the Crème d'amandes first and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing the galette is key. 
  • With the leftover eggwhites, you could make macarons (recipe to come) or coconut macaroons

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