Yesterday I was flipping through an old Gourmet magazine and came across the recipe for Galette des Rois, a cake made in many parts of France to celebrate the Epiphany.
My first attempt at this recipe was a few years back. I found the technique challenging but intriguing. After hours of rolling, folding and chilling and re-rolling, re-folding and re-chilling the dough, I had achieved a rough puff pastry from scratch. The final product was lop-sided, misshapen and ugly, but delicious. I wanted to try again to see if I could improve on the presentation and when I rediscovered the recipe yesterday I promised myself to make it for the Epiphany.
I talked to my Mom today. She mentioned they celebrated the Epiphany at mass this morning.
Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. Epiphany falls on Thursday, January 6, 2011. In most countries, including the United States, the celebration of Epiphany in 2011 is transferred to Sunday, January 2.
I have four days. I’d better start rolling and folding now.
Galette Des Rois adapted from Gourmet Magazine 1954
1 2/3cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup ice water
1/4 cup pure almond paste
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 whole almond
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Make dough (rough puff pastry):
Sift together flour, salt, and sugar into a large chilled metal bowl. Set a grater over flour mixture and coarsely grate frozen butter into flour, gently lifting flour and tossing to coat butter. Drizzle ice water evenly over flour mixture and gentle stir with a fork until incorporated. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 portions. With the heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together with a scraper into a 6-to 7-inch square. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. (Dough will be lumpy and streaky.)
Make filling while pastry chills:
Puree almond paste, sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and puree until incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and chill, covered, to firm at least 1 hour.
Roll out pastry:
Roll out dough on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 21-by-7-inch rectangle and arrange rectangle with a short side nearest you. Fold into thirds, first the top down then the bottom up (like a letter), brushing off the excess flour, to form a roughly 7-inch square. Rewrap dough and chill 20 minutes.
Arrange square on floured surface so that a side with 3 layers visible is nearest you and roll into a 21-by 7-inch rectangle, rolling lengthwise away from and toward yourself, but not side to side. Fold in thirds, brush off excess flour, and chill 20 minutes. Repeat rolling out, folding in thirds and chilling 3 more times. After the last round of rolling and folding, chill rewrapped dough 1 hour.
Assemble and glaze galette:
Roll out dough in same manner into a rectangle 24 inches long, then cut in half crosswise. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of pastry into a 12 inch square and transfer to separate baking sheets by rolling pastry arounf rolling pin, brushing off excess flour, then unrolling onto baking sheets. Chill squares until firm, about 10 minutes in freezer or 30 minutes in refrigerator.
Put an oven rack in lowest position and another in top third of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Stir together egg and milk in a small bowl with a fork to make egg wash.
Using a plate as a guide, cut 1 pastry square on a baking sheet into an 11 inch round reserving excess dough for another use. Using tip of knife and a smaller plate as a guide, score a 9 inch circle leaving a 1 inch border all around. (If at anytime the pastry becomes too soft to work with, chill until firm.) Cut a 1/2 inch circle in the center of round to serve as a stream vent, then score curved lines close together inside 9 inch circle in a pinwheel design and lightly brush pastry all over with egg wash. Chill scored pastry on baking sheet while preparing remaining pastry.
Cut remaining square into a 11 inch round in the same manner. Brush some egg wash in a 1 inch wide border around edge of round and mound chilled filling in center, spreading to about 1 1/2 inches from edge. Bury almond anywhere in filling. Slide chilled pastry round gently over filling, scored side up and press edges of rounds together to seal. Cut decorative notches, 1 inch apart, around sealed edge of galette.
Bake on baking sheet on bottom rack of oven until puffed and golden, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer galette to upper third of oven and continue baking until very puffed and deep golden brown 10-15 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, 5-10 minutes (galette will deflate slightly). Serve warm.
Whoever gets the slice with the almond, according to tradition, will be king or queen for the day.