A few weeks ago, my roommate and I had a BRILLIANT idea…a brilliantly tasty idea. As it was close to Epiphany, we thought we would make a Three King’s Cake – or “galette des rois” in French. This “cake” is more like one large turnover, made with puff pastry and a frangipane filling. Frangipane is a sweet, almond and sugar combination that is used in pies or tarts…I used it as the base of an apricot tart once. It’s similar to the filling of streudel or other breakfast pastries.
In any case – there is a tradition that goes along with this cake : inside, one hides a bean or a coin. Once the cake is cooked, cut, and distributed, the person who ends up with the coin is considered the “king” or “queen” of the evening. In French culture, upon cutting the galette, the youngest child hides under the table and announces who receives what piece…and everyone wants to find the coin. For those of you who want to learn moreeeeee click here.
So Pauline and I, together, in our (poorly equipped…) college community room, prepared this treat for a few French (and American) friends…I’ll admit, Pauline was the workhorse behind this recipe as I had never made a King’s Cake…but I got to place the coin (we used a piece of pasta…) in the cake. It’s a really simple recipe that doesn’t take much work and it is definitely worth noting.
So even though Mardi Gras has passed by…as has Epiphany and we are now in Lent and you probably gave up sweets (pity…) – this would be an excellent addition to breakfast with a cup of hot coffee, no crowns necessary.
– 2 sheets of puff pastry
– 1 1/4 cup almond flour/meal
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 egg
– 3 1/3 tbsp butter, softened
– 1/4 tsp almond extract
– 1 egg yolk (for painting the dough)
– 1 coin/bean
Preheat oven to 400F. If the puff pastry is frozen, allow it to thaw completely before unwrapping. If you don’t wait, it will just break. Take one sheet and press it into the cake pan, cutting it to size . With a fork, score the pastry (basically cover it with holes). This will allow steam to escape when cooking and decreases the chance for air bubbles…which while they might look cool don’t do anything for flavor…they’re full of hot air. ;)
In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients – the almond powder, the sugar, the egg, the softened butter and the almond extract. I suggest putting the butter in first, followed by the sugar, the eggs, the extract, and the finally the almond flour.
Pour this mixture on top of the puff pastry, making sure to spread the filling evenly. It would be wise to leave a small border devoid of filling – this will make sealing the pastry easier. Put a bean, coin, or small NOT HEAT SENSITIVE object somewhere in the filling, preferable near the border so that you don’t cut it accidentally. We used a pasta…in hindsight this was probably not the wisest choice as our “fève” was eaten ! We never found out who the King was (or queen, as there were only females present for most of the nibbling process…sorry Matt !) and therefore just decided it was a mystery.
Using the second piece of puff pastry, cover the filling and make sure to pinch the edges well. Again, cut the piece of pastry to fit the mould – no need to have TOO much excess as it will just take longer to cook.
To make the top an even (and beautiful) golden color, take the yolk of an egg and mix it with a small amount of water. Paint the top of the cake with this mixture. Then, score the top with a fork just like you scored the bottom piece.
Cook for about 30 minutes – just enough time for the top to be golden brown.
Wait for the cake to cool a little, then cut the cake !