"When faced with an angering situation we must rise above the frustration to find a solution." - Julien C'est MoiIt's King's Day and the supermarket cannot keep enough almond flour on the shelves!!! I was caught off guard this year. Nothing is more disappointing than not having the privilege of baking a galette des rois to share with your friends... unless you can find a better recipe that inspires you to kingly (or queenly ;) ) greatness.
First - The Tradition
Twelve days after Christmas we throw a party and celebrate the tardy arrival of the Magi, rulers of the orient who elected their kings, who mysteriously arrived at Jesus's house while the boy was still a toddler.
If you're in France on this day you'll have a great dinner, bake a flaky pastry called a galette des rois (king's cake), and elect the king from among your friends. The youngest person of the group crawls under the table while the host cuts the galette des rois into exactly as many pieces as there are guests. As the host serves each piece onto a plate they ask the youngest who that piece should go to, and this way the pieces are distributed randomly without partiality. (*very important, otherwise the kids would accuse each other of cheating!) The guests know that one of the pieces has a surprise fève in it, and whoever finds the surprise in his slice will be king for a day. Traditionally the surprise was a dried bean, being too hard to cut, or bite, it would show up unharmed and be exchanged for a crown. Today the surprise is usually a plastic figurine less than an inch tall, buried in the layers of almond and flaky dough.
Unfortunately, everyone else in France is going to have exactly the same idea, and there never seams to be enough almond flour to go around. Hence the frustration and the dilemma.
Traditional Galette des Rois
2 puff pastry crusts - uncooked (thousands of layers of buttery flaky goodness)
2/3 cup (140g) almond flour (purée your whole raw almonds in a blender)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/3 cup butter (6 tbsp) (75g)
1 egg yolk
1 fève - if you don't have any mini ceramic figurines, you can use a dried bean
*variations add almond extract or rum to the filling
Lay one puff pastry crust in your tart pan. (Please note, that this is not a pie pan it is a shallow, flat, round pan with decorative sides, if you do not have a tart pan, then you can use a pizza pan.)
Mix the almond flour, sugar, 2 eggs, and butter in a bowl.
Pour this mixture onto the crust and drop the fève in.
Now cover with the second puff pastry crust. Press down the edges so they stick together. Draw designs all over the top with a sharp knife. Brush the egg yolk over the top.
Cook for 20-30 minutes at 365°F (200°C)
Serve warm. Cut into exactly as many pieces as you have guests that way someone is sure to be crowned king!
Make a paper crown to give to your noble victor.
Not only was I not going to stay bummed by the news that the grocery was completely sold out of anything remotely almond... Instead, I found a recipe that will smoke your galette and make you forget you even had a craving for one.
Pâte Brisée (French Pie Crust)
Makes one 12-by-16-inch rectangle
2 1/2 cups (350g) flour
1 1/2 tsp (càc) coarse salt
1 tsp (càc) sugar
2 sticks (one brick) cold unsalted butter
6 to 8 tbsp (10cl) ice water
Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter. Process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream just until dough comes together. (Do not process more than 30 seconds.)
Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten dough, and shape into a thick rectangular block. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or overnight), or freeze up to 1 month.
2 1/4 pounds (about 9) peaches
1 cup (6 oz) (170g) raspberries
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp (càs) fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp (càc) salt
2 pâte brisée (french pie crusts)
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp (càs) heavy cream
Sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375°F (200°F) with rack in lower third. Toss thinly sliced peaches, raspberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
Transfer half the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle that is 1/8 inch thick (1/2cm). Line a sheet with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet. Trim edges of dough to hang over sides of baking sheet by 1/2 inch.
Roll out the remaining dough into another 12-by-16-inch rectangle that is 1/8 inch thick (1/2cm). Pour fruit mixture into the dough-lined baking sheet. I know it looks like too much filling, but go for it anyhow. Drop in your fève for the game, if you don't have any mini ceramic figurines, you can use a dried bean. Cover with remaining layer of dough. Trim edges of dough to hang over sides by 1/2 inch. Fold edges of top layer over edges of bottom layer, and pinch to seal.
Poke holes into the top dough layer with a round pointy object, like a wooden spoon handle. Whisk together egg yolk and heavy cream in a small bowl. Brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until crust turns golden and filling is bubbling, about an hour (30 min in a convection oven). Let cool completely on a wire rack, about an hour.
Cut into exactly as many pieces as you have guests that way someone is sure to be crowned king!
Make a paper crown to give to your noble victor.
The Visit of the Magi
2After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the easte went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
The Return to Nazareth
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”