Each year, on the 12th Day of Christmas – 6th January, the whole of France goes gaga for a cake called Galette des Rois. It’s a tradition which celebrates the Epiphany and it refers to the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem. The golden flaky pastry cake is filled with almond paste and topped with a gold crown. Inside a lucky charm known as the fève is hidden. Whoever finds it is crowned king for a day. The pâtisseries and boulangeries of France are filled with this delicious cake but if you can’t buy one – simply make your own galette des rois with this easy recipe. If you don’t have a lucky charm use a dried bean – that’s what the Romans used to do!
Ingredients (for 6 portions)
75g butter (softened) (1/3 cup, 2.5 oz)
2 eggs (medium)
75g caster sugar (1/3 cup, 2.5 oz)
1 tablespoon plain flour
75g ground almonds (1/3 cup, 2.5 oz)
1 packet of puff pastry (about 400g)
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Almond extract/essence (optional)
Pinch of Salt
1 fève – or lucky charm, or use a piece of candied fruit
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4/350°F and line a baking tray with grease proof paper.
Keep the puff pastry in the fridge right up until you need to use it.
1. Mix the butter, egg, sugar and flour together in a bowl and then add the ground almonds, salt, almond extract (a few drops) and the rum if you’re using it and mix them all well together.
2. Roll out the puff pastry and cut two 22cm (8 inch) circles and put one on the baking tray and the other in the fridge.
3. Spread the almond paste onto the puff pastry circle on the tray leaving about 2 cm (inch) clear around the edge to allow you to join the ”lid”. Put the fève into the almond paste and then brush the beaten third egg round the edge you left clear and place the refrigerated puff pastry circle over the top. Pinch the edges together gently so that they stick but be careful not to squidge the filling out! (Note some people leave the feve out and just pop it on top afterwards to avoid potential choking risk, or replace it with a piece of candied fruit).
Brush more beaten egg over the top of the cake, make a small hole to let the steam out and then lightly score the pastry with a knife creating a criss cross pattern – or a fancy leaf pattern or anything you like, it really enhances the appearance and you can let your creativity run wild!
4. Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160°C/Gas Mark 3/325°F for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is well risen and golden.
Place a paper crown on top and eat when cold…