The Galette des Rois (Kings’ cake) is made, and shared amongst friends and family, to celebrate Epiphany. The first version, which is more common in the south of France (where I spent most of my life), is a sort of brioche with sugar on top and candied fruit inside and out. Funnily enough that’s not my favourite version.
I prefer the second one which uses frangipani (an almond based cream). Now strictly speaking this recipe is for a Pithiviers, not a Galette des Rois, although there is not much in it: Pithiviers is made with a (quicker and easier) home-made almond paste vs an almond-based crème pâtissière for the frangipani of the Galette des Rois.
For those interested Pithiviers comes from a small town of the same name in the centre of France.
Anyway… this second version is a lot tastier than the brioche one, in my opinion. Both of them share a common tradition: a fève, literally a broad bean, which should be inserted into the cake before you cook it. Then when the cake is cut and slices are given to guests the one with the fève is the king / queen and gets to keep the fève and wear a crown. For many years now the original fève has been replaced by porcelain miniatures, representing a lot of different things (more recently whatever children’s film is in cinemas).
So if you decide to add a fève to your cake, first make sure that it’s heat-resistant. Second warn your guests so they’re not taken by surprise or worse break a tooth!
- Puff pastry - 500g
- Almonds - 180g (whole)
- Sugar - 125g (caster)
- Butter - 50g
- Eggs - 3
- Vanilla extract - 1tbs
- Mix all your ingredients in a good processor
- Roll out two balls of dough
- Spread the ingredients onto one rolled out piece of dough
- Cover with the other rolled out piece of dough
- Cook in the oven for 35mn at 210ºC
Get your food processor ready with the blade attachment. Switch your oven on at full whack. Get all your ingredients ready.
Grind the almonds in a food processor with the blade until they are coarsely ground. Remove half of them and keep grinding until it's just a powder, then mix both together so you've got finely ground and coarse ground almonds.
Next add the caster sugar, 2 of the 3 eggs, the butter and the vanilla extract to the ground almonds and mix again with the processor. You should get a smooth, slightly runny paste.
Now for the puff pastry, first of all grease your tin and put it to one side. Cut your dough into two balls, one a bit bigger than the other. Roll out the bigger one first, about 2-3cm wider than the size of your baking tin (I used a 30cm tin), it's better to roll it a bit too much than not enough. Put your rolled dough into your greased baking tin, the dough should climb nicely up the side, almost to the top. Put your almond mix on top of this, in the centre, and gently spread it out evenly with a spatula.
Roll your second ball of dough (the smaller one) to about the same size as your tin. Once again it's better to spread it a bit too much than not enough. Then put it on top of the bottom dough and almond paste to form a lid, delicately pinch the two layers of dough together to seal them.
Finally take the third egg, beat it with a fork in a bowl and brush it on top of your cake to make it golden and delicious-looking! Put your tin in the oven at 210ºC for about 35 minutes until golden.
It's better to eat it warm.
And don't forget... watch out for the fève!
Don't forget, if you like this recipe please share it! We'd love it if you came back and shared your comments, thoughts, and rating on this dish once you've cooked it. Bon appétit!