Updated: Apr 22
Let's be honest, in terms of "New Year Celebrations", 2021 really got the short end of the stick. Most of us were not able to leave our homes and meet with anyone outside our "bubbles" which meant celebrations were at an all time minimum. And with how 2020 turned out, many of us don't want to get our hopes up for 2021 and start thinking things will get better sooner. Don't want to *jinx* the new year now do we?
Still, I had exciting plans in terms of baking for 2021 because I knew I wanted to make a "Galette des Rois" also known as an epiphany cake, just to set the tone for this new year.
I grew up in Quebec, Canada and as your typical French-Canadian, I was raised catholic. Christmas celebrations actually revolved around going to midnight mass since that dictated when we could start eating all the food and opening presents. After Christmas was done, we'd of course look forward to New Year's Day celebrations, but the true indicator that the holidays were coming to a close, and that going back to school was imminent, was "Epiphany!" (or the arrival of the wise men in Bethlehem for anyone not accustomed to the celebration).
Although it wasn't a set-in-stone tradition in our house, my mom often made a cake for epiphany and, as is customary, she'd hide a "fève" or bean inside the cake and whoever found the bean was crowned king or queen for the day. Note that my mom always had us eat the cake at the end of the day so ruling powers were short lived - haha.
It wasn't until many years later, when I started travelling to France on a regular basis that I was reminded of this tradition. Even late into January, bakeries and pastry shops across France still sell their "Galettes des Rois" which I am guessing is now more a tradition for the new year than for epiphany.
Having not enjoyed an epiphany cake in years, I was excited to make my own from scratch to start off 2021. Also, a puff pastry filled with a creamy nut based filling? Queue drooling. Say no more, I was sold!
My research indicated that most recipes say to use ready-made / store-bought all-butter puff pastry. Why go through the hassle of making your own? Well I'll tell you why! Because it is AMAZING!
In terms of fillings for the galette des rois, I saw many variations of nut based fillings - including almond, hazelnut and pistachio to name a few. I, personally, am a sucker for anything almond flavored and so I went with the traditional frangipane filling.
I am very please to say my galette was a success. So much so that I barely got to eat much of it as it was gobbled down by my husband who couldn't resist the buttery puff and soft and almond filling.
Whether or not you choose to make your own puff, do try this recipe! It is in fact extremely easy and ever so yummy!
Here's to hoping 2021 doesn't suck as much as 2020 did. Cheers!
SIMPLE PUFF PASTRY RECIPE
Détrempé ingredients (dough)
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 tsp salt
Butter plaque insert
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter (use high quality, high fat butter, 82% and above)
1/2 cup + 2 tsbp flour
Prepare your "détrempé"
Mix all the ingredients for the détempé in a stand mixer or by hand in a large bowl.
Knead until you obtain a smooth dough.
Cover with cling-film and refigerate for at least one hour.
Prepare your butter plaque (or insert)
Combine the butter and flour for the insert and mix until smooth. I like to do this using the paddle attachment on my stand mixer.
Transfer the butter to a large piece of parchment paper. Note: I like to make a fold in my parchment paper and place the butter only on one half. I then fold the other part of the parchment paper and start flattening. The fold in the paper will provide at least one straight side to help guide you in making your butter plaque.
Continue to press out the butter between the two pieces of parchment paper until you obtain a rectangle measuring about 4 inches wide by 6 inches long.
Assemble and fold
Take you détempré our of the fridge and roll until you have a rectangle about 6 wide and 10-12 inches long.
N.B. You want the détrempé to be wide enough to accommodate the length of your butter plaque and long enough to allow you to fold both ends over the width of the plaque.
Place the butter plaque in the middle of the dough and fold edges over so they meet on top, on the middle of the butter. Seal the seem and the top and bottom edges of the dough by gently pressing with your fingers.
Turn the dough over so the seam side is on the counter and leave your open ends at the top and bottom.
Using your rolling pin, repeatedly press-down on the dough so that the butter starts to stick to the dough. You want to do this across the whole piece of dough. The, roll out the dough until you obtain a long rectangle, about 6" wide by 18" long.
Complete a double fold (aka book fold) and place the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove your dough from the fridge. If looking at your dough, it should be set down as you would a book, so that you could "open it" at the seem.
Using the same technique above, press down the whole length of your dough gently and then roll-out. Again you'll want to obtain a long rectangle of about 6" wide by 18" long.
Complete a single fold this time before placing your dough in the fridge. I recommend repeating the last 3 steps one more time so that in total you've completed one double fold and two single folds.
Place your dough in the fridge until ready to prepare your galette.
TRADITIONAL GALETTE DES ROIS