It’s Galette des Rois day in France! Galette des Rois (“King Cake”) is essentially puff pastry stuffed with almond filling, and it’s a tradition in France enjoyed on the last day of the Christmas season. Actually, you’ll find them in bakeries starting around mid-December and stretching into January, but that’s probably because they’re so delicious that it seems a shame to enjoy them on only one day of the year. If you want to read more about the tradition, here’s a great article from The Local.fr.
I first attempted making a Galette des Rois last year, however, at the time we were out of town and the gas oven in the old farmhouse where we were staying just wouldn’t get hot enough… resulting in a sloppy melted mess! Ooops. But this year, especially since it’s the last year that we’ll be in Paris, I was determined to master the recipe. While the recipe I used isn’t copied from anywhere in particular, I definitely found the above article from The Local super helpful, as well as this recipe from Marmiton, and this recipe from David Lebovitz.
makes one 8″ (20 cm) galette des rois
for the filling;
75 g unsalted butter, room temperature
75 g sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon almond extract
zest of half a clementine
125 g almond flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
for the pastry;
2 sheets puff pastry
for the egg wash;
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon heavy cream
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale, then beat in the egg whites, one at a time, until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the clementine zest. Add the almond flour, cornstarch, and salt, and stir to combine. Place the filling into the fridge while you prepare the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut a 10″ (25 cm) circle out of the first sheet of puff pastry, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. (Tracing a circular pan with a knife makes this easier!) Spread the filling onto the center of the pastry, leaving about 1 ½” (3.5 cm) of pastry exposed on the edges. Lightly brush the exposed free edge with a little water.
Cut a 9″ (23 cm) circle from the second sheet of pastry, and use it to cover the filling. Use your fingers to press all the way around the top piece of pastry to seal in the filling. Fold the excess pastry from the bottom layer up over the top layer, and crimp it in place with your fingers.
Whisk together the egg yolk and cream, and generously brush all over the top of the galette. Use a knife to lightly score a pattern on the top (the pattern I made is the one I’ve seen most in bakeries), and poke two or three vent holes so steam can escape.
Bake for ~30 minutes, until deep golden brown. Allow the galette to cool for 15 minutes before serving (though it’s also delicious cold).