Happy Christmas Eve!
I hope you have a fun day and enjoy doing whatever it is you do on Christmas Eve. I’ll be in the kitchen baking cookies for the neighbors. I feel kind of guilty for not sending out Christmas cards this year when I’ve made such great new friends, so maybe cookies will make up for it.
Since I haven’t decided what type cookies to make, here’s a recipe I posted years ago, but which I think merits a second look. It’s perfect for those who like eating pastry, but aren’t quite so comfortable making it from scratch. Using store-bought puff pastry is a short cut, but the end result is a very tasty traditional, French pastry, the Galette des Rois.
The Galette des Rois is a French dessert traditionally served on or around January 6 to celebrate the day of Epiphany, when the Magi visited the Christ child. The pastry is a golden cake with an almond cream filling called frangipane, but the special touch is small china figurine called la fève. Back in the day, a dry white bean was used instead of a figurine; fève means fava bean en français. The fève is baked into the cake, and the person who finds it in his or her slice becomes King or Queen for the day.
Galette des Rois
1 (7 oz) roll of almond paste (Odense)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 egg, medium or small
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 dry kidney bean or plastic favor
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Place the almond paste and half of the sugar in a food processor. Process until well blended. Add the butter and remaining sugar using and process until smooth, then blend in 1 egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, flour and salt. Empty mixture into a bowl and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or until slightly firm.
Roll one sheet of the thawed puff pastry into an 11 inch square. Using a large pie plate or cake pan, trace an 11 inch circle onto the dough using the tip of a small knife. Place the circle of on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat with second sheet of dough, placing the cut out circle on another sheet of parchment.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Mound the almond filling onto the center of the pastry that is on the baking sheet. Leave about 1 1/2 inch margin at the edges. Press the bean or feve down into the filling. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, and press down the edges to seal.
Beat the second egg with a fork, and lightly brush onto the top of the gallette. Use a knife to make a criss cross pattern in the egg wash, and then prick several small slits in the top to vent steam while baking.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not open the oven until the time is up, as the pastry will not fully puff. Remove from the oven, and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Return to the oven, and cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Lay a golden paper crown gently on top of the cake. This will be used to crown the person who finds the bean or feve. Serves 8 people