Baking & Beer | Long Live the King Cake
Updated: Aug 4
Hello and welcome to the third installment of Baking & Beer! In this series we crack open bottles like we crack open eggs. I'm going to be honest with you, though. I did not drink beer during this creation. There is rum in the recipe, so I substituted. Let's always substitute things when we bake. Who cares if it throws off the proportions and messes everything up. At least you can take total ownership of your messed up cake.
Anyway, this week we are finally going to be making a GALETTE DES ROIS! The galette des rois is the almond cream and puff pastry delight that I assume the angels eat in heaven because it is so wonderful. Galette des rois means King Cake (a galette being a round, free-form type of cake or tart), and it is eaten to celebrate the Epiphany in France when the three kings came to see baby Jeezie (Did baby Jesus have a nickname?). The Epiphany is on January 6th, but why confine a good thing to just one week, you know? Being able to put a galette des rois in your stomach makes the whole month of January a little bit easier to stomach.
We started this project last week when we made homemade puff pastry and learned that it is really not that hard and not even all that time consuming. We also learned that Queer Martha is not great at time management and kept forgetting to take photos of her finished galettes because she was running late to the places she was taking them. This week was better, and now we have photos and a recipe to share!
By "have a recipe to share," I mean I am sending you to this David Lebovitz link. Making frangipane, the almond cream is really very simply, and David gives you all the information you need about the ingredients. That said, I cannot support David's galette des rois. You see, in addition to the ingredients that David has laid out, you cannot under any circumstances neglect to include a "fève" and a paper crown. This is what makes the cake so special, and without it... well, it's like the three kings never even found Jesus.
The "fève" is a little porcelain figure that you bake into the cake (you can buy a set on Etsy). Whomever finds the "fève" in the course of eating the cake gets crowned king for the rest of the meal with the paper crown. Do not skimp on the feve and paper crown. David mentions something about substituting the porcelain figure for a dried bean or an almond (a dried bean being very traditional, in fact), but don't do that if you don't have to. I'm serious - it's not the same.
Ok, gather all your ingredients. Put them in a weird circle in order to call the spirits of the galette des rois to you. Put the rum in the middle, because that is what we are drinking tonight.
You need puff pastry, which you already made because you are a rock star. Or you bought it from the supermarket, in which case you are still a rock star, but you need to let that bad boy thaw.
For the frangipane, you need:
1 cup almond meal (Bob's Red Mill sells it)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt (unless you only have salted butter because you don't think ahead)
Zest from half an orange
3 1/2 ounces butter
~2 teaspoons of rum (I like a boozy frangipane, so I tend to be heavy handed here)
Splash of almond extract
A lot of attitude
Swear to god it doesn't work without the attitude. Keeping a Lego castle on your kitchen table also helps:
Now dump the almond meal, sugar, salt, and orange zest together. Remember when I said you should totally substitute things when you are baking? You can also omit things, ok? Rachel doesn't like the orange flavor in frangipane, so you will notice I left the zest out. That's ok. You do you.
Once the dry part is mixed together, mix in the butter until it is completely incorporated. I've only ever done this with my hands because it's more fun that way. Just squish away until...
...your frangipane looks like this! All the butter is incorporated and you are awesome.
Now mix in the eggs. The mixture will be grainy. That's normal. Now put your frangipane in the fridge to chill out.
While Frangipane is hanging in the fridge, take out your puff pastry and roll it into a thin sheet about 20 inches long and 10 inches high (or however big you want your cake to be. I am very in favor or personal galettes.). Make sure that the dough is on a well-floured surface, but brush off any excess flour before putting the galette together.
Using a cake mold or pie tin, cut out two symmetrical circles from the puff pastry. Put the leftover puff pastry back in the fridge and make croissants in the morning for your lover or your child or yourself.
On one of the circles, pile on the frangipane that you just took out of the fridge! Make sure to leave an inch of naked dough around the frangipane. Place the fève on the bed of frangipane.
Typically, by this point you have transferred your galette bottom to a baking sheet, but we've been drinking and we're not thinking straight. If you, like Queer Martha find yourself in this situation, just gently pick up the sides of your cake and quickly plop it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. The dough is sturdy enough to handle a few seconds of air travel.
Wet the edges of the bottom of your galette to make is sticky, then drape the other puff pastry circle on top. Push down all around the edges and make sure that the two pieces are becoming one.
Now you get to decorate the cake! You can scallop the edges using a knife...
...and you can cut a design into the dough. This one is pretty classic, but you can do whatever the heck you want.
Then cover your masterpiece with an egg wash (just mix egg yolk and a little bit of milk or cream)! This will make it all nice and brown and shiny. Kings don't want dull cakes, you know?
Now put your galette in the oven at 350 for 30 - 45 minutes. It should be golden brown and all puffed up when it is done baking.
So over the past month, I have made three galettes, and they all turned out just fine (except for the one I under baked because I was running late for the dinner party... sorry again!). Naturally, when I went to take the galette I was making for the blog out of the oven...
There was frangipane all over the place! It was a catastrophe!
I clearly did not push my top and bottom puff pastries together well enough.
So I straight up just shoved the frangipane back in galette like that boy from Where the Red Fern Grows shoved his poor hunting dog's entrails back in its belly after it was attacked by that cougar (that happened, right?), and then I learned an important life lesson. This galette might be the ugliest one yet, but hot damn it was delicious! This exploded galette tasted better than any of the other ones I made this month. It was so good, in fact, that Rachel just dug right into that little sucker. She didn't even wait to take her coat off.
And she found the fève! Look how happy she is! She's the king! You don't get this kind of excitement with an almond or a bean, I'll tell you that much, David Lebovitz.
There is only one week left in January, but that is still enough time for you to get your hands on some almond meal and make the most exciting cake of the year. Then on February 1st we will say, "January is dead! Long live the King Cake!"