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In France the tradition of serving this frangipane filled tart can be traced back to the 14th century. A small bean, coin or porcelain fève is baked inside the cake and whoever receives the little favor is then crowned king/queen for the day. So don't chew too hard in this delicious pastry, and save your teeth!!

This cake is traditionally served on January 6, a Christian holy day called Epiphany, and mostly known as the 3 wise men visit to baby Jesus. If you are in France in January, be sure to look in the windows of bake shops, you’ll see many of these small favors on display as well as many galettes for sale.

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Tradition also dictates that the cake be cut into as many slices as there are people present, plus 1 extra. The extra piece is called either: la part du Bon Dieu (God’s piece), la part de la Vierge (the Virgin Mary’s piece) or la part du pauvre (poor man’s piece) and it is given to the first poor person who stops at the home.

Who will become king or queen for the day at your house? Bake a galette and have a little fun with the family. Make a foil crown to place atop the cake before eating it (if you buy it at a baker’s in France, they will provide the crown).

Recette de la Galette des Rois – Puff Pastry Tart filled with Almond cream Recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

•    1/4 cup almond paste
•    1/4 cup sugar
•    3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softenend
•    pinch of salt
•    2 eggs
•    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
•    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
•    2 Tablespoons flour
•    1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions
•    1 dried bean (lima or kidney beans work well)
•    2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

 

leyla galettePREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Buttered large baking sheet (not dark metal).

1. In a food processor, purée the almond paste, sugar, butter and pinch of salt until smooth.

2. Add 1 egg, vanilla and almond extracts and purée until incorporated.

3. Add the flour and pulse to mix it in.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11-1/2 inch square.

5. Invert an 11-inch pie plate onto the square and cut out a round shape by tracing the outline of the pie plate with the tip of a paring knife.

6. Brush the flour from both sides of the round and place it on the buttered baking sheet. Put in the refrigerator to chill.

7. Repeat the procedure with the second square of puff pastry, but leave it on the floured work surface.

8. Beat the remaining egg and brush some of it on top of the second round. Score decoratively all over the top using the tip of a paring knife and make several small slits all the way through the pastry to create steam vents.

9. Remove the first sheet from the refrigerator and brush some of the egg in a 1-inch border around the edge. Mound the almond cream in the center, spreading slightly.

10. Bury the bean in the almond cream. Place the scored round on top and press the edges together.

11. Bake the galette in the lower third of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

12. Place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and return galette to cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the edge is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool sligthly.

 

SERVING THE GALETTE:

Serve the galette warm. Make sure everybody knows about the bean so noone breaks a tooth!

Debra Fioritto

Debra Fioritto is a winner of the 2006 Culinary Trust's Julia Child Endowment Fund Scholarship and specialises in culinary travel and tours to France. She is an expert in the history, legend and lore of French cuisine and has eaten her way through most of the regions of France.

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