Happy New Year All! No January detox here, I’ve started off with the rich butter laden pastry that we know as puff pastry. I wont be producing low fat versions of my recipes because I think patisserie is something that should be decadent. I’d rather go without certain brands of chocolate, crisps and biscuits if it means once a week I get to tuck into something truly scrumptious.
This delicious Galette des Rois is eaten in January to mark the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, in the North of France it’s a puff pastry pie traditionally filled with a layer of frangipane, in the South of France it’s called a Gateau des Rois and it’s a ring shaped brioche decorated with candied fruit.
The Galette des Rois is not to be confused with a Pithivier, although the two look virtually the same and traditionally contain pretty much the same filling. Nowadays the pithivier can be either sweet or savoury and is believed to have come from the town of Pithiviers in France. The Galette des Rois however has a rich history and is steeped in tradition.
It is said that traditional versions of a Galette des Rois should contain a figurine of some sort, typically referred to as la fève because this used to be a broad bean. The youngest member of the family, generally considered the most innocent, must cut the cake into portions and the person that gets the figurine is allowed to be the King for the day.
A paper crown is normally included with the cake and the person that finds la fève is expected to provide the cake next time.
Just like the giant Stollen mentioned in my Stollen post, the French also love a giant Galette des Rois. Every year, a reception is held at the Elysée Palace, a huge galette (measuring 1.2 m across for 150 people) is made for the President of the French Republic. But the artisan baker and pastry chef responsible for making it is instructed not to put a fève in the cake because “it would not be appropriate to find a king in the presidential palace of the Republic”.
The rich history and these traditions that are still upheld are part of the reason I love French Patisserie so much. Long gone are the coins in our christmas puddings!
There are lots of recipes about for Galette des Rois, but I settled upon the lovely looking recipe in Edd Kimber’s latest book Patisserie Made Simple. This week the recipe was made available online by the publishers, however it didn’t include the rough puff recipe included the book.
I’ve only ever made puff pastry the traditional way before, incorporating a rolled out block of butter into a block of pastry, for more details on the traditional method see here. Rough puff is very easy to make, but it still has a number of rolls and folds that must be completed, so it isn’t as quick as some pastries.
The pastry is made by combining chunks of butter and flour before bringing it together with a small amount of water. The pastry should be dry and not at all sticky, this is then rolled out into a long rectangle and folded in three like a letter so that the pastry overlaps. The pastry is turned 90 degrees, rolled out and folded again. The pastry is then placed in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. After this time, the rolling and folding must be repeated twice more at 30 minute intervals. You then need to leave the pastry to rest for an hour before you come to use it.
The frangipane filling is very easy to make, a mixture of sugar, butter, ground almonds and eggs. The twist in this recipe is the inclusion of rum soaked raisins, I was sceptical of the raisins, but they’re really good and they work really well. It’s very easy to make the raisins, a mix of raisins and dark rum are heated until all the rum is soaked in. These are left to cool until you need them.
The pastry is cut into discs of 8cm and 9cm, the larger disc is for the top so that the pastry top matches after the filling has been added. The recipe specifies that you can make 8 Galette des Rois, but I was able to make 10 and I think you could probably get up to 12 with the amount of filling there is.
The pastries are then egg washed and placed in the fridge for 15 mins before they are scored lightly with a knife to create a pattern. It’s important that you chill the pastry as it makes the scoring easier, you just want to mark it lightly, not cut all of the way through, otherwise your filling will burst out. Place them in the oven and bake until they’re golden and when they are cooler, tuck in.
- ***Rum and Raisin Frangipane***
- 60g Raisins
- 4 Tbsp Dark Rum
- 100g Unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
- 100g Caster sugar
- 2 Large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk for eggwash
- 100g ground almonds
- ***Rough Puff Pastry***
- 200g Plain flour
- 200g Unsalted butter diced
- 100ml Cold water
- To make the puff pastry put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the diced butter. Mix it in using a blunt knife to cut the pieces very slightly in size.
- Add 60ml of the water and stir to combine, then add the remaining water if the mixture seems dry.
- Tip the mixture onto a work surface and gently bring it together into a uniform dough - it should be soft but not sticky.
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough with the short edge facing you into a long rectangle, three times as long as it is wide. The exact proportions are not critical. brush off any excess flour.
- Fold the top third of the dough over the middle third then fold the bottom third over the other two-thirds, as if you are folding a business letter.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the open ends are facing you. Repeat the rolling and folding process and then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before repeating the rolling and folding twice more.
- Chill the dough for 1 hour before using.
- To make the frangipane, put the raisins and the rum in a small pan over a medium heat and heat until the rum has been absorbed into the raisins. Tip into a small bowl and set aside to cool. Put the butter and caster sugar in a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating until fully combined before adding the next. Add the almonds and mix to combine. Mix in the rum soaked raisins, then put it in the fridge until needed.
- Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Divide the pastry into two pieces and roll out each on a lightly floured work surface until 2–3mm thick. Using an 8cm cookie cutter, cut out eight rounds of pastry. Using a 9cm cookie cutter cut out another eight rounds of pastry.
- To assemble, spread the frangipane onto the smaller rounds of pastry leaving 2cm clear around the edge. Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water and brush this eggwash around the edge of each pastry. Top each with a larger round of pastry, pressing the two pieces together to seal and place on the prepared trays. (Using a slightly larger piece of pastry for the top means that you can get a flush finish without stretching the pastry). Brush the pastries with the eggwash and put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven)/gas 6.
- Remove the trays from the fridge and, using a knife, draw a decorative pattern onto the tops of the pastries. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. These pastries are best served on the day they are made.
These are actually very simple to make and I really recommend Patisserie Made Simple as the recipes I’ve tried have been really good,
Have you made Galette des Rois or Pithiviers? I think these might possibly be my new favourite type of pie.
Thanks for reading all and I hope you’ve all had a great start to 2015.