I have always wanted to make a Galette des Rois for the Epiphany and finally plucked up the courage today. In France, it is a cake which is traditionally eaten on 6 January, although some shops and bakeries make the most of this event by selling them up to a few months before the big date. But like any seasonal treat, such as the Yule Log or Hot Cross Buns, the window for making a Galette des Rois is brief and I’m glad to have finally tried my hand at making one. Here is Rachel Khoo’s version from My Little French Kitchen.
A Galette des Rois is normally a layer of frangipane (almond cream) encased between two layers of puff pastry. A fève (a dried fava bean or ceramic figurine) is usually hidden in the frangipane, and the lucky person who finds this fève in their slice has the honour of being king for the day. Rachel Khoo’s version has a layer of sliced apples on top of the frangipane, and the puff pastry base is cut to resemble a crown. It’s certainly an impressive variation on an old classic, and the apples give a nice balance to the cake which can otherwise be quite rich from all of the puff pastry.
The following recipe is not complicated but, as you can imagine, it is a little fiddly, especially when it comes to lining the cake tin with puff pastry and cutting out triangles to shape the crown. Having said that, and now that I understand the concept of this recipe, I think I would be much quicker the next time I make this cake.
Despite having used a larger cake tin than that specified in Rachel Khoo’s recipe (the original recipe calls for an 18 cm cake tin), I ended up baking my cake for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes until the pastry was golden and the apples were sufficiently cooked. But I think much has to do with the type and/or brand of puff pastry you are using and even the type of apples.
I wanted my cake to have a bit of a glossy sheen like an apple tart you might find in a café, so I heated a bit of apricot jam and brushed this over the cooked apples once it was out of the oven.
All in all, it was a fun and delicious recipe to recreate, something I hope to do again next year.
It is also important that you leave a band of at least 3.5 cm (1.5 inches) when cutting triangles in the pastry for the crown, so that there is enough room for the frangipane to rise during baking.
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