Queen for a day?

... and eat cake too!

In true French tradition I decided to make a Galette des Rois for Epiphany.  I am not much of a baker and even less when it comes to recipes involving puff pastry but when I decided that there was nothing wrong with using pre-made frozen puff pastry (thank you Pepperidge Farm) I thought I would give it a try.  Growing up, going to a French school, I used to eat a Galette des Rois, king's cake, every year for Epiphany.  Whoever makes the cake hides a little "fève", a little plastic baby, or a coin, or a bean in the cake.  Whoever gets the feve in their slice of cake can be Queen or King for the day.  Fun!  I didn't have a miniature plastic baby so I used a bean.  Less chance of choking if swallowed :)

I have the luck of working in a restaurant with a very talented pastry chef so on Wednesday I asked her for a few tips! She took out her sharpe pen and started to explain!

Clearly restaurant quantities of almond cream totally unnecessary.  Good thing she was nice enough to do the math for me and re-size it to individual cake measurements!

I'm very visual.  While I didn't ask her for pictures they were appreciated!  The recipe calls for mixing almond cream and pastry cream together.  She just happened to have pastry cream left over from some desserts she was making that day and gave me some. No sense making tons of pastry cream if I only need a little!

The recipe I ended up using was a combination of the one from Baking with Dorie (thanks!) and my tips and tricks the pastry chef gave me.

14 ounces all-butter puff pastry, homemade or store bought, chilled and ready to roll
3/4 cup almond cream
1/4 cup pastry cream
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 large egg

Pastry cream recipe from Baking with Dorie:
- makes about 2 cups -
2 cups whole milk
1 plump, moist vanilla been, split and scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 3 pats
1. Bring the milk and vanilla bean (pulp and pod) to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow the milk to infuse for at least 10 minutes or for up to 1 hour.
2. If the milk has cooled, it will need to be reheated now.
3. Whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Whisking constantly, drizzle one-quarter of the hot milk over the yolks. When the yolks are warm, whisk the remainder of the milk into the yolks in a steadier stream; remove and discard the pod (or save it to make vanilla sugar).
4. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep at the boil—still whisking energetically—for 1 to 2 minutes before pulling the pan from the heat and pressing the cream through a sieve into the small bowl. Let the cream sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter. Cover the cream with a piece of plastic wrap—press the wrap against the cream—and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. You can speed up the chill by putting the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water. (Keeping: Covered tightly with plastic wrap, pastry cream can be refrigerated for 2 days. To smooth the chilled cream, whisk it for a few seconds.)

Almond Cream recipe from my friend the Pastry Chef:

2 sticks of butter - at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of almond flour (I put raw sliced almonds in my coffee grinder)
1 1/2 tbs of flour
5 eggs

Take puff pastry out of the freezer a good 40 minutes before you want to start making the cake.  It takes a while to defrost.

Cream butter and sugar until light
Beat in the eggs 1 by 1
Beat in almond flour and flour

At this point you add the pastry cream to the almond cream.
NOTE: I apparently mixed the two together a little too vigorously because there was air in my cake and it left a little cave between the two layers of puff pastry.  It fell once I cut it but mixing it lightly instead of using all your force, which is what I must have done, might work better.
Add the rum!

Take one sheet of puff pastry, lay it out on a well floured board or counter and roll it out a little, depending on how big you want your cake to be. I only rolled it out a few more inches.

Take the lid of a large saucepan and make a round imprint in the dough.  Brush eggwash around the circle.  This will help the top layer of puff pastry stick to the bottom one when it's time to put it on.

Put your almond cream/pastry cream combination in the middle of the circle and spread it out a little until it is about an inch away from the circle.
Add your bean!  Put it towards the edge of the dough so its harder to see when you cut into the cake.

Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry and gently place it on top  of the cream, making sure that you smooth out any air pockets.

Score the top of the puff pastry with a knife, lightly, if you want a design on the top and then brush it with eggwash.
NOTE: don't forget to cut the puff pastry into a circle shape!  I scored the cake, brushed it with eggwash and put it in the oven forgetting to cut it into a circle.  10 minutes into baking I panicked and remembered what I had done.  Luckily I could still take it out and cut off the excess puff pastry.  It worked... but I still felt stupid.

Cook the pastry according to the baking directions on the box of puff pastry you used.  Mine said 40 minutes at 400.  I think I could have probably baked it at 375.

joyeuse fete des rois!

Who said you can't have cake for breakfast?


  1. I love galettes des rois! Why didn't you cook/bake like this when I lived in DC?!