First of all, let me wish you all a happy new year, full of delicious and happy moments!
I haven't been around much lately, busy with Xmas preps and just being plain lazy. But I thought that the epiphany would be a good time to resurface, putting an end to the Christmas season and welcoming the new year with yet another sugar high...
There are regional variations on the Three King's cake in France. Around Bordeaux for example, they make a brioche-type crown with candied fruit and pearl sugar (I hear they do a similar one in New Orleans, not a coincidence). In Franche-Comté (home of Comté cheese, which I like a lot), they make a flat galette with no filling. But generally speaking, the most widespread galette is a puff pastry affair filled with frangipane. Inside a fève (fava bean) lays buried, now a ceramic figure, and whoever finds it becomes king or queen, according to gender and/or sexual preference (ha ha). They're sold with golden paper crowns.
When children are around, the youngest has to slip under the table while the slices are being served, the child can decide who gets the next slice from under the table, so that, if upon slicing, the fève is discovered, which happens 80% of the time, the same child is granted it, and has the surprise of becoming lord of the day.
Usually, if you get the fève, you are supposed to choose a queen and bestow either the crown or the fève upon them. So that, if your mum got it, she could pick you to be her king...
Galette des rois is probably one of the easiest cake to bake at home, especially if you buy ready-made puff pastry discs. The only trick is to seal the edges well otherwise the filling spills out...
Here's an easy-peasy filling I have made often and found here
-100 g ground almonds
- 75 g sugar
- 1 egg
- 50 g butter, softened
-a few drops of bitter almond extract, if you like
You just mix everything together, spread over your bottom pastry, insert your fève or a clean coin, then cover with another pastry disc. Seal the edges well -I use a fork for safety but some eggwash will do. Take a sharp knife and draw a pattern on top, brush with milk or egg and bake for about thirty minutes in a hot oven (200°C). When it comes out of the oven, you can brush it with a syrupy glaze (water and icing sugar) to give it a brilliant finish.
If you're making a large one (about thirty cm in diameter), you might want to double the quantities.
This filling is nevertheless not the traditionnal frangipane one, which is a tiny bit more work and creamier. I like it better as it is more almondy. I have also used hazelnut powder successfully. Your call.
Last year I made up my own gianduja version and was quite satisfied with the result. I used (for a smallish galette):
50 g sugar
50g soft butter
70g hazelnut powder
50g pralin powder (or use half hazelnut half brown sugar in its place)
60g melted chocolate (70%)
I have also made my own puff pastry which isn't difficult, just time-consuming, but not much of it hands-on, look here. As I type, I am in the process of making some too, for tomorrow's galette!