If you know a few French people, you might have seen this type of pie already. Every first Sunday of January, we bake a “galette des rois” (litt. king’s pie) to celebrate the Epiphany. It is a really nice tradition, though one might argue that it is a little too much after the Christmas and New Year festivities. Anyway, I really like it and especially the ritual that goes with it. Here is how it goes in my family.
Place a little lucky charm in the pie – roughly the size of a £1 coin – between the 2 layers of puff pastry. When ready to serve the pie, the youngest guest goes under the table. He/She will be choosing which piece goes to whom, as s/he cannot see the pie, if the charm shows when the pie is cut, the distribution can still be done fairly. Cut the pie into as many pieces as guests (other wise, there might be no one getting the charm, that would ruin all the fun) and each time you take a piece out, ask the person under the table who it is supposed to go to. Once all the pieces of pie have been distributed, dig in! And if you are lucky enough to find the charm, you are the king/queen of the table. You can then chose your queen/king, and everyone has to do whatever you like!
The Galette always looks quit impressive when you serve it, but it is really very easy to make. I think that’s what I was trying to show with this 4 step photomontage – and this version even contains an extra step!
The traditional Galette is made with frangipane cream, a mix of custard and almond cream. But I find it a bit heavy, so I like to use only almond cream, and replace the custard with fruit, either apples or pears work really well. Here is how to make my version.
1 pack of Just-roll puff pastry (or you can make it yourself) – 80 g caster sugar – 50 g butter at room temperature – 100 g almond powder – 1 tbsp rum – 3 egg yolks (1 for the eggwash, 2 for the cream) – 2 tbsp milk – 1 pear
1. Preheat he oven to 200 C. Divide your puff pastry dough into 2 dough rolls of similar sizes. Roll down the pastry into 2 circles, one slightly bigger than the other. This step is easier if you have left your dough in the fridge for a few hours. Leave on the side while you make the almond cream.
2. To make the almond cream, mix together energetically the butter, sugar, 2 egg yolks, almond powder and rum. You can use an electric whisk to make it extra creamy. Pour the cream on the largest of the 2 circles. The cream needs to be the consistency of cake batter, so you can pour it onto the first circle of dough, but it stays in place, like on the picture.
3. Slice the pear in 2-3 mm thick slices, and dispose regularly on the almond cream.
4. Close the pie by laying down the smaller circle of dough on top of the cream and pear slices. As the bottom circle is a bit bigger than the top one, you can easily fold the sides on the top dough to seal. Press down with your finger tips to make sure it is hermetically sealed, otherwise the cream will come out. Make a little whole in the middle to let the air escape. And decorate the pie if you wish to.
5. Beat together the remaining egg yolk and milk to make and egg wash. Glaze the pie with eggwash, which will give it a nice golden colour as it bakes.
6. Leave to bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Enjoy with your friends and family with a nice cuppa! I find this pie lovely but quite heavy so I would not recommend adding any ice cream or custard, but a fruit salad might be nice.