Sunday, January 07, 2007

Galette des Rois

Update, January 17, 2013: I've been making galettes every year since this post, and I must add a comment and a photo: make sure you bake your galettes until they are dark golden brown, and don't bother with a grill to limit expansion, or with glazing.

3 of the 5 galettes I made for Epiphany 2013

The first galette, illustrated in the post below, was clearly underbaked...

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My first galette -- also known as a Pithiviers -- was a success. Not as beautiful as this one. But very puffy, and very tasty. Below are some photos and explanations of the step-by-step process. The recipe itself is farther down in this post. [Please also read my later post on galette number 2]
(Apologies, all photos were taken at night, in a badly lit kitchen, in a bit of a rush due to the impending arrival of guests.)

Roll out the puff pastry quite thin (3 mm) in two disks. I found it hard to keep the circular shapes once I transferred the disks from the table to a mat to store them briefly in the fridge.

The "frangipane" filling is spread in the center, leaving a wide rim of dough uncovered for sealing the top and bottom layers. My filling was a bit on the runny side, perhaps I should have chilled it first. I found this amount sufficient but some may prefer a thicker layer. The "fève" (in this case a porcelain Minnie Mouse, perhaps not very traditional but to the liking of part of my audience) is inserted in the filling. For those who don't have a fève, a whole almond could be used.

Sealing the two disks of dough carefully is important (isn't it!). Chase any air bubbles from the inside out. Again I had trouble believing this flat crèpe of a cake would ever become a substantial galette. But that is the magic of puff paste...

The recipe suggested placing a grill over the cake to limit and stabilize its growth, as described here and illustrated here. I placed it about 4 or 4.5cm above the bottom of the galette (try enlarging the photo to the right to see what I mean), thinking I had left more than enough room. But the dough did puff up to the grill. I was worried it would push through the grill but luckily it stayed neatly tucked in.

I had made designs on top of the cake but they were practically gone by the time the galette was baked. In part because they were overwritten by the print of the grill, but also perhaps because I used a toothpick held at a low angle (to avoid piercing the dough) rather than the inverted knife as suggested.

I found other recipes that suggested glazing the top of the galette with a sugar syrup. I tried this with success. Take a small amount of sugar and the same weight in water, let them boil together for 2 or 3 minutes, then brush the baked cake. Put the cake back in the oven for two minutes and voilà, you have a shiny cake. The additional sweetness is welcome as the dough is not sweet.

The galette flattened when cut. The filling was quite moist, more flavorful than store-bought versions thanks to the vanilla seeds and the touch of rhum. The overall impression was very rich and buttery.

I was pleased when a very picky eater chose to wolf down an entire slice. I had thought the children wouldn't like the galette, so with some of the leftover dough I quickly made "palmiers," shown in the background of the top-most photo (post to come soon, hopefully).

For another great photo illustration of the step by step process, see the post about galettes on Le hamburger et le croissant.

Recipe: Galette des Rois
Source: Frais!

Ingredients for two galettes
[I chose to halve the recipe, thinking we wouldn't want to eat two galettes, but now there is none left I regret this decision...]

For the crust
- 1 recipe puff paste from the Frais! post above, briefly translated to English in my previous post.
Or use ready-made puff pastry (make sure you have enough for 4 28-cm disks if you are making two galettes). Try to find puff pastry made with all butter.

For the "frangipane" filling
The filling is made of a mixture of crème pâtissière and almond cream.
[It sounds complicated but it's not really. I've seen other recipes with a simpler version of the filling but this one seems quite authentic. And it tastes very good. This coming from someone who's not a frangipane fan.]

Crème pâtissière
- 1/4 liter milk (250g)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
- 60g sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 20g corn starch

Almond Cream
- 160g butter [I assume it must be soft, not melted]
- 160g confectioners' sugar
- 160g ground almonds
- 4g corn starch
- 2 eggs
- 30g rhum [I used about 25% less]

Egg wash for before baking. Mix together:
- 1 egg
- salt
Syrup for after baking [my addition, inspired by other recipes]
Boil together for 2 or 3 minutes:
- 30g sugar
- 30g water

Make the crème pâtissière
Boil the milk with the vanilla bean and seeds and half the sugar. Mix the rest of the sugar with the egg yolks and the corn starch. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the boiling milk on the egg mixture then return to the stove and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Count 1 minute from boiling, whisking vigorously the whole time [I couldn't quite tell when it reached boiling point as I was whisking the whole time, but basically when you see the cream thickening you can stop.] Pour into the bowl and cover with saran wrap so no skin forms. Let it cool.

Make the almond cream
Mix the butter, the confectioners sugar, the ground almonds and the corn starch. Mix the eggs in little by little and combine thoroughly. Add the rhum. Cover and set aside.

Assemble the galette
(Instructions for a single galette)
Slice two quarters of the puff pastry if you made it yourself and roll each out to about 3mm. Cut out a 28cm disk in each. Store in the refrigerator.
Whisk the cooled crème pâtissière, and add the almond cream.
Take one of the dough circles out of the refrigeterator and paint a 1.5 cm rim of egg wash around the edge, making sure the egg doesn't dribble over the side (where it would inhibit the rising of the puff pastry).
Pour or pipe the frangipane cream into the middle of the dough circle, taking care to leave a 1.5cm rim uncovered.
Add a "fève" or a whole almond to the frangipane at this point. (Don't forget!)
Place the second disk of dough on top. Seal the edges very carefully so there are no air bubbles, thereby preventing leakage of the filling (see comment above).
Flip the cake over [this I believe has something to do with improving its rising propensities, I'll spare you the details].
Brush with egg wash, again making sure none goes over the sides of the galette, to preserve its full rising power, and store in refrigerator for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C [correction: 190 or 200°C, see this post]. Put the galette on a sheet of baking paper or silpat sheet. Again brush with egg wash, and make a design with the back of a knife. Place in oven with a grill placed above it (see comment above). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Glaze with sugar syrup and place in oven for another 2 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Serve lukewarm, reheating the galette briefly if necessary.

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So again, is it worth making from scratch?

In a recent article in Le Monde (Jan 3rd, 2007), the following was written about bakery galettes:

"La galette des Rois est devenue une sorte de gâteau familial qui fait le bonheur des enfants avec sa fève et sa couronne. Mais son prix frise parfois l'extravagance. Dans cette boulangerie parisienne du 3e arrondissement, rue de Bretagne, il vous en coûtera 43 euros le kilo, soit autour de 30 euros pour une galette à la frangipane pour six personnes."

Or summarized in English: Galettes have become ridiculously expensive. In a bakery from the neighborhood where I used to live, the price was 30 euros for a galette for six people.

My conclusion: if you enjoy the process, it's definitely worth making yourself. It's fun, the final result is delicious, and you save money.

Then again, the article did go on to say that you can get a very good and inexpensive ready-made galette from Picard Surgelés (French frozen goods supermarkets). Make sure you choose the one that has to be baked, not the one that is simply reheated. The latter is faster to serve but not as good. For those of you lucky enough to live near a Picard store...

* * *
Recap of all puff pastry-related recipes on this blog:

Puff Pastry recipes
- Traditional pâte feuilletée
- Pâte feuilletée inversée

Recipes that use puff pastry
- Galette des rois or Pithiviers first post
- Galette des rois (this post) second post and third post
- Palmiers (particularly good for using up the precious scraps of dough)
- Cheese straws or puffs (see above, under "First Test")
- Caramelized puff pastry (pâte feuilletée caramélisée)
- Fig and goat cheese tartlets
- Lemon millefeuille


Mercotte said...

j'ai vu l'autre post avant ! Ta galette est très belle , la pâte bien levée c'est ça l'important, elle doit être particulièrement légère ! un 2eme bravo !

Astrid said...

Merci Mercotte pour ton commentaire encourageant. Ton blog est d'une grande inspiration pour se lancer dans des défis culinaires.

Nicole said...

Absolutely beautiful!!

Astrid said...

Thanks Nicole for dropping in!