Galette des Rois or “King Cake” is a magical French tradition, along with many classical cakes and pastries, comes from a religious tradition. Besides that … it's awesome, I crave it, and can never pass up that dense, sweet almond goodness.
Around the middle of December bakeries around France start knocking out these traditional and popular treats traditionally served at the beginning of Epiphany on the Christian calendar. Just like with all good things around holiday season it’s more lucrative to get these out earlier and earlier each year in anticipation of their actual holiday use. I mean, I’d love Galette des Rois year round as much as I would Halloween!
Epiphany is the “12th day of Christmas (you know the song) January 6th, and ends with the Beginning of Lent (or Ash Wednesday). So, now can you see the Louisiana tradition of Mardi Gras, the Mardi Gras King Cake, and Carnival season worldwide? Non? Oui!
The idea of hiding the crown or baby Jesus in the Mardi Gras King Cake comes from the Galette des Rois. Although not as “fun, the Fève (typically a dry bean) is an important part of the tradition of King cake. Whoever gets the fève in their slice will be the King (or Queen) and lured with praise and possibly resentment from your little brother.
Whatever the season enjoy this fun bake. For those that love the kitchen, you will have a blast making this treat. From the puff pastry, and trust me it gets easier to make every tie you make it, to the delicious almond cream filling. Give it a whirl… be a King! Or Queen. *snap*
Rough Puff Pastry
3 cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups ice water
- The idea like most pastry it to keep everything cold. Because of the work involved in folding and layering puff pastry, you don’t want the butter to soften and ooze out while preparing. So be organized, work quickly, and add enough time in between folding layers to let the dough rest in the refrigerator.
- In a mixing bowl add your flour and salt. With a box grater, grate 1 cup (2 sticks) of your butter into the flour and toss the shreds loosely in the mix. Shredded the last 1/2 cup (1 stick) separately into another bowl. Add your ice water. With your hands quickly toss and mix, then pour out onto a floured work surface and knead.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle the top with some of your separate shredded butter. Fold one end to the center, then the other end. Fold over into one “book page” fold. Roll the dough into another rectangle. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the chilled dough and repeat the process of sprinkling the top with separate shredded butter, fold in both ends, the fold on top of each other. Roll into a rectangle and chill. Do this three times or until your separately shredded butter is used up.
- Half the dough, using one half for the bottom of your Galette des Rois (GdR) and the other for the top. Roll the first half out to 1/4-1/8” thickness. Using a form, plate, or geometry, cut out an 8-9” circle. Save the scraps, cover, and place in the fridge for later use if needed.
- Prepare a baking sheet large enough to hold your GdR. Fit a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. Carefully lay the bottom round dough into the center of the pan and place in the fridge to keep cold.
- Roll the second half out to the same desired thickness and at least wider the circumference of the bottom round. I chose not to cut out into a circle but ensuring there would be enough “overage” to fully cover the filling.
- See the rest of the recipe “For The Filling” procedures for further baking instructions.
1 batch of my Rough Puff Pastry
8 ounces Marzipan/Almond Paste
1 cup Almond Meal Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temp
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 whole almond or dry bean for the “ fève”
Egg Wash: 1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, a splash of water, Mix well.
- In a mixing bowl crumble up the marzipan. Add the sugar, almond meal, and softened butter. Mix into a paste with a hand mixer or your stand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in completely. Scrape the bowl down and mix one more time.
- Next, add the almond extract and the dark rum. Mix well! Remove the bowl to the refrigerator and chill.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On your bottom round of rough puff pasty Add the Almond filling in the center. Allow a small butter edge clean to be egg washed and seal the top layer. Smooth the filling out into one even layer. Thick is good, so don’t be afraid fo the filling amount.
- Place the almond or dry bean “fève” anywhere you choose. Just remember who evener finds the fève will be King! Brush the outer edge of the bottom round with the egg wash.
- Lay the second layer of puff pastry over the top, as evenly and flush as you can. Gently press the top and bottom edges together and trim away the excess.
- Score the top of the pastry decoratively with diamonds, herringbone, or sun rays… just make it pretty! Flute the edges as you would a pie decoratively as well. Brush the entree gazette with the egg wash.
- Place your Galette des Rois in the oven and bake 40 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving.