Monday, January 07, 2013

January is galette month

To mark the epiphany, people in France eat a special cake made with puff pastry filled with an almond paste called frangipane. The cake is called une galette des rois (cake of the kings), the kings being those three wise men who took gold, frankincense, and myrrh (myrrh? To a baby shower?) to Bethlehem. The galette traditionally has a little prize hidden inside it and the person who gets the prize in his slice is crowned king for the day (the cakes are sold with paper crowns).

The bottom came out a bit larger than the top, and there was some separation of the two layers. But that didn't affect the taste.

Galettes appear in the bakeries and supermarkets after the new year (sometimes before) and range in price from the affordable to the ridiculously expensive. Years ago, Ken and I decided that our local galettes were getting much too expensive (it's a huge racket any more) and that I should make our own at home. The biggest time investment is in making the puff pastry. After that the cake goes together pretty easily.

I used a sweet chestnut cream filling in place of the almond for a change. It was delicious! I'll probably make another in the next few days. That'll take care of January's special food. Then we have crêpes to look forward to in February.

23 comments:

  1. Pauline and I thought of buying one from our baker... but at 17€... er... perhaps NON!

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  2. Chestnut filling -- great idea! I should get around to making a galette de roi one day -- but I probably won't.

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  3. The three kings day traditions of Europe.
    In Austria, 3 kids with an adult go from house to house and sing about it all, dressed up in fancy royal outfits. Oh so politically incorrect, one of the three kids has to go as a black face.....ah the innocence of not knowing.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/germany-merkel-xmas-blackface-flap-article-1.1233851

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  4. Your galette des rois looks delicious. I can't imagine taking time to make the puff pastry though. Save me a slice!

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  5. looks dee-lish; I'll be right over for a slice! :)

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  6. Your galette looks lovely. One day I will have the time to make my own puff pastry......it's getting closer !!
    I think we have only ever had a piece of galette des rois once, at Simon and Susan's, as we aren't usually chez nous at the right time of year. So I am doubly looking forward to the next one......

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  7. Walt, you do such a beautiful job on your pastries, and I know this tasted as good as it looked.

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  8. i am really looking forward to having a nibble of a galette (i have had new orleans king cakes but they are more coffeecake bready things) since i have never been in france in january (until wed, when i will be in paris to meet my grandson!!!!!) so yay and yum all around (and probably brrr too)

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  9. Never made puff pastry in my life. I love puff pastry through. I saw Julie Child make it once and was thoroughly intimidated. Your looks lovely!

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  10. Okay -- all you lazy puff pastry people. I'm the ultimate in lazy. You can buy ready made pâte feuilletée that you just unroll and it's ready. For the galette, you need two of them. Read the package carefully; they come made with butter or made with margarine, and butter is really better and sometimes they are sold in twos, so you might not need a second package.
    Melinda, welcome to Paris. Wednesday is the first day of sales, but you don't have to deal with that, with a new grandson to keep you occupied. It's gray and dismal and drizzly, about 9°C these days.

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    1. Ellen, I agree with you that the supermarket puff pastry is a good fallback position, but it just isn't as good as the home-made stuff. Something to do with the butter used and the amount of salt, I think. I don't know what the best brand is.

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  11. I know there is a difference between pate feuilletee and puff pastry right? (One being phyllo dough, the other
    puff pastry or are they the same?). Anyway, reading your post, I thought it was such a great idea to fill it with creme de marron. Actually you could make a savory galette. If you use phyllo dough with spinach, feta... then you get a round spanakipita.
    (Time to check Google about the different "pates" and have my brain checked out).
    I noticed too yesterday that the days are getting longer. By February, we will definitively notice the difference.

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    1. Hi Nadège, I think one way to say pâte feuilletée in English is "puff pastry" but some people (maybe British) also call it "flaky pastry". Walt's home-made puff pastry, I have to say, is much better than the stuff you buy at the supermarket.

      By the way, I bought my tablet computer this morning. I decided to buy it here in France, because if anything goes wrong or I'm not satisfied with it for any reason, I can always take it back to the store (Darty) and (try to) have it exchanged or replaced...

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    2. Great, Ken! What kind did you get?

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  12. There is a big difference between the two "pates".
    http://www.tasteofhome.com/Cooking-Tips/Ask-the-Test-Kitchen/Puff-Pastry-Vs--Phyllo-Dough

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  13. Yes, Nadege our daylight is improving and so is my mood! Your galettes are perfect, Walt!

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  14. C'est vrai que les prix des galettes du commerce sont vraiment exagérés, pour une qualité très variable et parfois douteuse.

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    1. Au début de notre séjour en France, nous avions l'habitude d'acheter nos galettes des rois chez le boulanger chaque année. Notez que je dis "galettes" au pluriel parce que nous pouvions en consommer quatre ou cinq au cours du mois de janvier. Cela nous revenait très cher, au prix de huit voire dix euros la galette. Voila pourquoi Walt a commencé à en faire artisanalement. Les galettes qu'il fait ne sont jamais de qualité médiocre ou douteuse...

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  15. Your cake looks better than a lot I've seen in France!

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  16. Merci, Walt, pour le photo! It looks yummy!

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  17. It looks delicious! I'm sure I'd enjoy it with the almond paste as well as the chestnut cream filling. Yum!

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  18. I've said it before, the French know how to eat well. Lucky folks.

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