On the 6th January, Epiphany day, the Northern French prepare the "galette des rois", a frangipani core encased in puff pastry. This cake is only baked around that date and is eagerly waited for. In the frangipani is hidden a 'feve', a trinket in the shape of a little ceramic figure (originally it was a coin or a bean). In Britain where people are a bit too safety conscious, I use a whole almond.
The person who finds the trinket is crowned a king with a golden paper crown these days! Epiphany day has its roots in the pagan world that predates the biblical changes. Local customs vary in the different European regions.
A lot of French people now buy it from the baker, but it tastes best homemade, and it is so easy that it's worth the bother.
- 2 sheets ready rolled of puff pastry for the laziest, or a ready-made frozen slab for the more courageous or even for the bravest, homemade puff pastry. Buy gluten free puff pasty - it is now readily available in supermarkets (in the UK anyway)
- 140g ground almond
- 100g soften butter
- 100g sugar
- 2 eggs + 1 white
- 1 yolk + a spoon of milk for the eggwash
- 1tspn orange blossom water (or rum) (+ 2 drops of vanilla extract optional)
- 1 whole almond (or a trinket if you have one)
Mix the butter and the sugar until the mix whitens, then add the beaten eggs and the ground almond, orange blossom water, mix well.
In the middle of the first sheet of puff pastry, pour the mix. Lay the second sheet on top, and roll the sides of the sheets together towards the inside to seal the galette.
With a knife, draw diagonal lines in both direction (so that they cross each other) to create the pattern. Then with a brush, spread the yolk on the whole cake to give it a golden colour.
Put in an over for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Serve hot, but it is excellent cold too. Maybe you will find the trinket and be the king, like I was today!....