Many of you are familiar with the usual King Cake found in grocery stores all over the south at this time of year. Traditionally, these cakes come out on Twelfth Night and are eaten all during the Mardi Gras season (or until they are gone from the shelves!). Every grocery store, discount store, drug store, bakery, etc., have them for sale, and they are available for shipment all over the world. Fillings for these involve a myriad of ingredients, including, but never limited to cinnamon, cream cheese, chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, name a berry, name a confection, etc., etc.! and of course, a plastic pink baby is (most) always hidden inside; the person who finds the baby usually brings the next cake to the next party! It's a fun tradition!
Usually, these are just plain too sweet for me. I prefer the 'authentic' French Galette des Rois, made with puff pastry and filled with an almond paste kind of affair. I made one last year and am delighted to say that I had a great measure of success, even though I do not bake. So if I can do this, anyone can! Of course, you can play with the filling to suit your taste; puff pastry is good with ANYTHING in the center!
If you feel adventurous and wish to try one for yourself, here's one of several recipes available:
Galette des rois
Makes 8 servings.
2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup ground almonds 2 eggs + 1 egg for painting 1 tablespoon rum (optional) 1 pound puff pastry (2 rounds) 1 large dry bean or fève figurine
In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg.
To make the frangipane, blend the butter with the sugar until well combined. Blend in the almonds thoroughly. Beat in the 2 eggs one at a time and then the rum if you are using it.
Roll out half of the puff pastry into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Place it on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, paint the outer 1 1/2 inch circumference of the pastry with beaten egg.
Spread the frangipane in a round in the center of the pastry so that it just meets the painted on egg. Press the bean into the frangipane somewhere close to the outer edge.
Place the other puff pastry (rolled out into an equally sized round) on top of the first. Use the times of a fork to press the edges closed. Brush the top of the galette with the beaten egg.
Use a paring knife to etch a pretty pattern into the top of the galette. Traditionally this is in a cross-hatch pattern, or concentric half circles, but you can make up your own pattern if you are feeling creative. Don't cut through the pastry, just etch.
Cut a small hole in the center of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place the galette in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes before baking. You can make it a day in advance as well - just be sure to keep it refrigerated.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the refrigerated galette in the center of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is dark golden brown. Serve warm.
Easy French Food http://easy-french-food.com