30 January 2012

Galette des Rois (Kings' Cake)

Galette des Rois is a popular French cake eaten to celebrate epiphany. Although the actual holiday is January 6th, one of my French friends told me that this cake is often eaten throughout the month of January. Traditionally, a bean or "feve" (a tiny figurine) is placed inside the cake. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the feve is crowned king for the day.

I made this cake last week for a French club dinner, and I had multiple French people tell me that it was excellent. Trust me, French people do not give out compliments flippantly, especially when it comes to food. So, you can believe me when I say this recipe is both delicious and authentic (and vegan--huzzah!).

Almond paste (for filling):

3/4 cup whole almonds

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup water

Galette des Rois:

1/2 cup almond paste

1/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons vegan butter, softened

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed (I use the pepperidge farm brand because it is vegan)

Powdered sugar for dusting


First, make the almond paste (if you want to skip this, you can buy pre-made almond paste at the grocery store).

Blend almonds in a food processor until they are close to a powder.

Add the sugar, almond extract, and water.

Blend until smooth. Put in the fridge until you are ready to use it for the galette.

Now for the galette. First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the almond paste into a food processor with about half of the sugar, and process until well blended. Add the butter and remaining sugar and blend until smooth. Then blend in the applesauce, vanilla extract, almond extract, flour and salt. Set aside.

Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11 inch square.

Place an 11 inch pie plate, cake pan or frying pan on top of the rolled out pastry. Trace along the edges with a knife.

Lift away the corners of the square, leaving only the circle you've traced. Take the puff pastry and lift onto the baking sheet. Put in the fridge and repeat the process with the other sheet of puff pastry.

Now, remove the first sheet of puff pastry from the fridge and pour the almond mixture into the center. I usually turn up the sides of the puff pastry slightly so that the mixture does not escape.

If you're putting a feve inside, do it now. Then, take the second sheet of puff pastry and place it on top of the first. Tuck the sides of the top layer underneath the first so that the almond filling does not spill out while baking.

Use a knife to make a criss cross pattern on the top of the galette. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes (or until bottom is a golden brown).

Serve it warm or cold. Bon app├ętit!

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