Galette des Rois
(The explanatory notes and the recipe are brought to you courtesy Vero who does most of the sweet things in the Lauer kitchen-cum-laboratory.)
This traditional French pastry used to be eaten on the day of Epiphany, January 6th, but can be found in bakeries from right after Xmas until the end of January. It is central to the fête des rois, a popular festivity, remnant of the Saturnales, the celebration of the winter solstice, and has survived until today.
The special thing about the galette is that whoever bakes it has to hide a charm in the dough. This charm used to be a real broad bean, but has nowadays been replaced by a tiny porcelain figure. Tradition has is that the galette is cut into as many portions as there are guests plus one. A child, often hidden under the table, calls out the name of the guest who gets the next piece, the first part (the one of God) being set aside for the first poor who would come and claim it (the so-called part du pauvre).
The person who receives the piece with the charm becomes king (or queen) for the day, gets a paper crown, and choses his own queen (or king), sealing his choice with a kiss. Of course, plenty of toasts are drunk in honour of the new king. It is then his turn to buy the next galette and so on. It once happened that a friend of Vero's, while celebrating the fête des rois at work, received the piece with the charm. She realised, with a sinking feeling of fright, that the only man attending the little party was her boss, so she preferred to swallow the charm rather than to make him her king for the day…
One can easily imagine the excesses of such a day in the past! Today, however, the fête des rois has become a rather tame family or social event [hm… at least those we've attended so far, adds a mischievous Thomas].
Shall we go to work? Here are the ingredients:
- 400 g puff pastry
- 125 g butter
- 125 g sugar
- four eggs
- 125 g almond powder
- 25 g corn flour
- a few drops vanilla extract
- two cl rum
- icing sugar
For the filling, mix the butter with the sugar until the mixture turns white. Add three eggs one by one, then the almond powder, the corn flour, rum and vanilla.
Roll the pastry and create two discs of about 40cm size each. Pick them with a fork.
Put the almond filling on the bottom disc (not forgetting to hide the charm, the nearer to the rim the better), cover with the second disc, seal the edges and brush the surface with egg yolk, draw some decorative lines with a knife. Let the galette rest for about 20 minutes at a cool place.
Bake the galette at 220°C, during 35 minutes. Powder with some icing sugar five minutes before the end of the cooking time. Serve warm with a dry white wine.
$updated from: Galette des Rois.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:25 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$