Galette des Rois

The Mardi Gras season officially begins on January 6th or the "Twelfth Night," also known as the "Epiphany." As a symbol of this holy day, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside king cakes.  In New Orleans, sweet colorful king cakes are a vibrant part of the Mardi Gras tradition.  You know you live in New Orleans if you have a stash of king cake babies in your junk drawer. 

My grandmother would celebrate epiphany with a Rosca de Reyes, a Latin American king cake.   In many countries a Galette des rois is a type of king cake associated with the festival of epiphany.  I begin baking these incredibly flaky, almond filled pastries during the Christmas season.  They store well at room temperature and make beautiful gifts.  Galette des rois are much easier to prepare than one would imagine, however, the most common issue associated with this pastry is the having the filling seep out during the baking process.  The secret to keeping the almond filling from seeping out is having well sealed edges. This is where my hand-built pottery experience comes in handy.  I press and seal the edges with water, then I flip the filled pastry and press the edges together a second time.  This is so important that I actually considered naming this recipe 'Please-Flip-Me Galette Des Rois.'  The decorative edges, made with a knife or the tines of a fork, are a third step in sealing the edges.  Don’t let the sealing process intimidate you, just bake one and enjoy with family and friends. 

Galette des Rois

Servings: 12

FILLING

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup almond flour

PASTRY

all purpose flour for dusting rolling surface

4 sheets (2 lbs) frozen puff pastry, thawed

water for sealing dough

1 large egg

1 Tablespoon Maple syrup

 

FILLING

1. Pre heat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and salt until well blended.  Add the almond flour and mix until blended into a paste.  Refrigerate while preparing the pastry.

PASTRY

1. On a lightly floured surface, unfold one sheet of pastry dough.  Dust off any flour on the top of the pastry dough.  Drizzle ¼ teaspoon of water on top, and rub across the surface of the dough.  Place a second sheet of puff pastry dough on top, and press down firmly with your hands to adhere the sheets together.  Roll into an 11-inch square. Use a cake pan or cake board as a guide to trim a 10-inch circle.  Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of puff pastry dough.

2. Spread almond paste on one puff pastry circle, leaving a 1-inch border.  Brush and moisten the border with water.  Top with the second puff pastry circle and use your fingers to press the edges together. 

3. Flip over the filled pastry and again, use your fingers to press the edges together.  It is important to ensure well-sealed edges so the filling doesn’t seep out during baking.

4. Use the tines of a fork or the tip of a knife to decoratively seal the border.  Poke a hole in the center as your guide and decoratively score the top.  Place in the freezer to firm up, 15-20 minutes. 

5. Brush the top and sides with the egg, well beaten.  Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and deep golden brown, 40-45 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and immediately brush the top with maple syrup.  Serve warm or room temperature.