Sunday, January 06, 2019

This year's galette

I don't want to keep you in suspense: Ken got the fève that was hidden in the cake this year. It was a little ceramic fish (a perch) that we got in a store-bought cake many years ago. I kept those fèves from previous galettes and re-use them year after year. The cake turned out well, although it's not really a cake. It's made with two layers of pâte feuilletée (flaky pastry) with frangipane (ground almonds, egg, and sugar) in between.

The finished galette, version 2019.

I make my own pastry, at least for this cake once a year, but pre-made flaky pastry is available in the supermarkets. I was remembering the first time I attempted flaky pastry, back in the 90s in California. I tried to make croissants. They were a greasy disaster; I'm not really sure what I did wrong. We ate them, but they weren't very good. I was not eager to try again.

The two disks, filled, assembled, and brushed with egg wash just before going into a hot oven.

But try again I did, with a recipe from a French television chef I saw after we moved to France. The recipe works very well, every time, and I get a good crisp pastry that puffs up as it should. The dough is just flour, water, and salt. Then, a block of butter (250g or the equivalent of two American "sticks") that has been flattened between two sheets of plastic wrap is laid on top of the rolled out dough (without the plastic, of course). The dough is then wrapped around the butter, folded in thirds, and placed into the refrigerator to rest, wrapped in plastic again, to keep it from drying out. Here's a link to a post I did in 2012 about making the pastry.

The tools for rolling and folding the dough.

After a thirty minute rest in the 'fridge, the dough and butter get rolled out again, then folded over itself twice. This step is repeated five or six times, then the pastry is ready for use. I cut the dough into two equal pieces, roll them out, and cut two circles using a dessert plate as a guide. I spread the frangipane on one disk, then use a beaten egg wash to stick the two disks together. It's important to use a knife to make little cuts on the edge of the cake and to make a design on top. This helps the cake to rise more or less evenly. After about twenty minutes in a hot oven, it's done!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous galette des rois! And thank you for the link back to how you make the flaky pastry from scratch. Now that I'm retired too, I have no excuse not to try it, although I have a hard time coming face to face with how much butter we'll be consuming! ;)

  2. Is finding the feve like getting sixpence in a Christmas pudding? The galette looks terrific on the cake stand.

  3. Bravo pour cette superbe galette ! Je n'ai jamais osé faire la pâte feuilletée moi-même...

  4. A beautiful galette! I tried croissants once with a poor result, maybe I should try once more. Perhaps French butter is best.

  5. This looks and sounds delicious. Good thing you didn't give up after that first attempt, years ago.

  6. I would LOVE to have a slice! (holds out plate)

  7. I have never had one, worse luck.

  8. kiwi, there's not that much butter in one slice, right? ;)

    andrew, sounds similar, but not being British, I don't really know...

    christiane, ce n'est pas vraiment difficile, mais ça prend un peu de temps.

    evelyn, I'm thinking I'll make a few croissants with the left-over dough.

    thickethouse, if at first you don't succeed... lol!

    judy, and tasty!

    anne marie, if you would only get here earlier! We at it all already.

    michael, more's the pity. ;)

  9. You are truly an artist. My mouth is watering!

    1. mitch, did you have the Spanish version?

    2. Walt: No I didn't. I didn't have much of the traditional Spanish baked goods this year. Maybe I should go out now and take advantage of the post-holiday discounts.


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