Galette des Rois

It’s been a dreadful day today… With my nose congested to the max, I almost felt like I had to puncture another hole near my nose to breathe, yuck!   I even took a day off from my scheduled work as an “organizer” (yes, as the name says, I help organize and de-clutter people’s homes). 

I’ve been wanting to bake Galette des Rois, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be up for this.  I’ve wavered back and forth during the morning hours, but finally around noon decided to go for it. 

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Galette des Rois, is eaten during Epiphany (January 6th) in France.  However, nowadays, this wonderful pastry is eaten throughout the month of January, so I’m glad I was able to bake this now!  Inside the puff pastry is crème d’amande (almond cream filling), and a little trinket is hidden in the filling.  Whoever gets this trinket is the king or the queen for that day.  I adapted my Galette des Rois from BBC Good Food and Chocolate and Zucchini.

Serves 6-8:
– 500 grams (17 2/3 ounces) all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
For the crème d’amande:
– 125 grams (9 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
– 125 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar (I used a blond unrefined cane sugar)
– 110 grams (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoon) almond meal (= finely ground almonds*)
– 8 grams (1 tablespoon) corn starch
– a good pinch sea salt
– 2 large eggs
– 1 tablespoon orange flower water or a liquor of your choice, such as Grand Marnier or rum ( I used Grand Marnier)
– 2 rounded Tablespoons apricot jam
For the eggwash and glaze:
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1. Prepare the crème d’amande.
Beat the butter until creamy, but avoid incorporating air into it. In a bowl, combine the sugar, almonds, corn starch, and salt. Stir with a whisk to remove any lump. Add to the creamed butter and mix until smooth. Add Grand Manier (or your choice of liqueur/liquor, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

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2. Roll out the puff pastry.
Divide the puff pastry in 2 equal pieces, and roll each one out to form a rough circle a little larger than 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter. Use a sharp knife and an upturned plate of the right dimension to cut a neat 30-cm (12-inch) circle out of one, and a slightly larger one with the other, adding, say, 6 mm (1/4 inch) all around the edge of the plate.
3.  Spread with the apricot jam to within 2 cm (1 inch) of the edges.

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(Pizza pan is a perfect shape to place your shell)

4.  Spoon the almond mixture over the jam, spreading it evenly. Brush the edges of the pastry with the eggwash, then cover with the second piece, pressing the edges to seal.

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(Before using the knife to draw a pattern, I took a toothpick to draw a rough sketch first). 
5. Using the back of the tip of your knife (i.e. the dull side), draw a decorative pattern on top of the galette: a diamond-shaped grid, optionally with double or triple lines, a flower pattern… see examples:  here and here.  I also crimped the side.
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6. Brush the top of the galette lightly with the eggwash: again, make sure it doesn’t drip over the edges, or the eggwash will seal the layers of the puff pastry in this spot and it won’t develop as well. Let it rest a minute then brush it lightly again with the eggwash.
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Using the tip of your knife, pierce 5 holes in the top dough — one in the center, and four around the sides, piercing through the pattern you’ve drawn — to ensure an even rise.

7. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for 30 minutes.  If you have time you can refrigerate this for 1 hour prior to baking, but it worked out fine without chilling. 
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My opinion: Even if you are not familiar with baking, this is pretty easy.  It is so delicious (yes, I even tasted this wonderful flavor in the midst of my nasal congestion), I must bake this again after I’m all well so I can taste the full flavor!!  My children devoured this after school – hopefully there’s some left for my husband.  

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