La Galette des Rois
- 2 rolls of frozen puff pastry (all butter is best – check for no hydrogenated fat)
- Brown sugar 125g
- Almond powder 200g
- 2 beaten eggs
- 50g Butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A little dark rum
The secret of easy pastry is to follow the measured quantities as if the result depended on it – it does!
Mix the sugar and almond power . Beat the eggs until light and creamy and add slowly to the mix. Add the melted butter and flavours.
Roll out the pastry. Ideally, the pastry and your hands are cold. This is important when working with any pastry but with puff it is essential: the quicker you work the better for a raised and light result. I always work on marble which makes it easier to keep everything cold while rolling out the thinnest pastry.
Cut out a large circle and then a second one but slightly bigger. Lay the first circle on a floured oven tray. Put the filling in the centre and spread it to about a good inch from the sides. Do not forget to place two “fèves” in the mix. Lay the second circle over and fold the sides over it. Push the tip of a fork all around the edge to seal! Decorate with light knife marks and brush over with melted butter.
Put in the midle of a warm oven for 30mn (200°). Eat hot with a mug of cold cider.
The tradition of choosing a king (and Queen) of the feast seems to go as far back as the roman Saturnalia festivals. It was then incorporated to the christian’s traditions along with many pagan festivals and the date was chosen to herald the arrival of the Wise Men. In Provence, the original dry broad bean in the galette was replaced with a porcelain figurine representing the “santons” or the different characters of the Provencal Creche which features a wide array of forgotten trade such as “cantonnier” (road layer) or “rémouleur” (travelling knife sharpener).
When in France around Christmas, I try to hunt for my “fèves” in flea markets or “vide-grenier”, the local car-boot sales!
The children love finding them in their share and then choosing a Queen or King to reign with over the party. At that point, a couple of paper crowns will prove handy as I learnt last year when I had to bargain for my vintage fève back with a shocked 3 year old who was quite ready to forfeit her crown for a lovely painted baby Jesus in its straw! I still feel slightly guilty but I got it back!… Promising myself to use simple broad beans next time ’round. Still failing…