Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Three Kings Day Cake- Galette des Rois

Christmas Time was finally rolling to an end and I decided to celebrate January 6th in a typical French fashion by creating a Galette des Rois inspired by a visit to Paris in 2002 that left a wonderful impression on me. Why it took me 8 years to recreate this amazing creation is beyond me! Perhaps having a young impressionable 2 year old that I am trying to create traditions for is part of it, or perhaps it is just old fashioned decadence or slavery to my dormant sweet tooth!

In any case, having the recipe book ' Paris Treats" by Doris Greenspan definately helped as there within is the following wonderful recipe.... which is make by combining almond cream and vanilla pastry cream together, and baking them in a puff pastry.. yum yum

Pastry Cream is a classic ingredient one must learn to make if you want to recreate all of those yummy French tarts and it is pretty easy...
Ingredients: 2 cups of whole milk and add to this a teaspoon of vanilla essence or a vanilla pod
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (125 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (45 grams) organic cornstarch shifted
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature

  1. Bring the milk and the vanilla bean to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat and allow the milk to infuse for at least 10 minutes or up to one hour. ( if neccessary, you can reheat the milk before proceeding)
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and set aside a smaller bowl that can hold the finished cream and be placed in this ice bath.
  3. Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan. Whisking constantly, drizzle one quarter of the hot milk over the yolks. When the yolks are warm, whisk the remainder of the milk into the yolks in a steady stream, remove and disgard the vanilla pod (if you used this)
  4. Put the pan over medium heat and whisking vigorously, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep at the boil, still whisking all the time, for one to two minutes, then pull the pan from the heat and put the cream into the smaller bowl. Then place this bowl in the ice bath (you can add cold water to the ice now)and stirring frequently, cool the cream to 140F
  5. Remove the cream from the ice water bath and whisk in the butter. Return the cream to the ice water bath and keep it there until it is thoroughly chilled.

Almond Cream- Ingredients:6 tablespoons unsalted butter,3/4 cup confectioners sugar. 3/4 cup blanched ground almonds. 2 teaspoons all purpose flour, 4 teaspoon organic cornstarch, 1 large egg at room temperature.

Method: To make the almond cream in a food processor, fit the processor with the metal blade, add the butter and confectioners sugar and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the ground almonds and contunue to process until well blended. Add the flour and cornstarch and process. then add the egg. Process for about 15 seconds more or until the cream is homogenous.

I didn't have blanched almonds on hand so I blanched them myself by bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add the almonds to it for 1 minute, then draining and cooling them under cold water and then rubbing their skins off which were loosened by the hot water. I then "dried" them off with a towel and then ground them in the processor. Other option is to use the raw almonds with their skins and grind them skins and all in the processor, the author of the book where I got this recipe has done that and no one has complained!

Putting it all together is easy:

Ingredients,14 ounces puff pastry- Pepperridge Farms is $4.50 per packet, Dufour is more expensive at $14.00 or Trader Joes used to carry an all butter puff pastry that was very economical but I am not sure they carry it anymore...3/4 cup almond cream, 1/4 cup vanilla pastry cream, 1 tablespoon dark rum, I large egg, trinket

Whisk the two creams together and add a tablespoon of rum. Then roll out your puff pastry base for the bottom of the tart, typically the cake should be a circle but I decided to make mine a square shape as is was easier for me using some egg wash, paint a border around the edge of the pastry. Then spoon the cream onto the base and spread it smoothly over the pastry, stopping when your reach the egg painted border. You can then place a trinket or a bean anywhere on top of the cream and press it in gently. Cover the cream coated base with top portion of puff pastry , pressing it firmly around the borderto glue the two pieces together. You can then press the edges together with the tines of a fork to both decorate and seal them.

Brush the entire galette with with beaten egg. Cut a small circle of dough, a steam vent out of the center of the galette, slide the galette into the refrigerator, and chill it for 30 minutes.

Center a rack in the oven and follow the heating intruction for the puff pastry as per the package