Sunday, January 6, 2013

King's cake

Because today is Epiphany (also the day before Christ's Baptism and my name's day in Romania),  let me share with you a recipe for King's cake or Galette des Rois, a French pastry, typical for this time of the year.. I am making it according to the northern France recipe, meaning it is a flat puff pastry cake with an almond paste interior. And it is super easy to make.

All you need is puff pastry - 2 round pieces similar to the ones for quiche (there is an idea for another recipe), almond powder, sugar, some butter and about 3 eggs, paper and scissors  for the crown and a coin or bean to use as the trinket hidden inside the cake. And that is it!

That seems like a weird recipe, right? Let me explain. The tradition asks for a King or Queen of the party which is the person who will provide the next year's cake. And wear the crown for today. How to chose this royalty? This is where the trinket comes in. Originally a bean but more recently a small figurine, it is hidden inside the cake and the person to find it in his or her piece of the pie receives the crown.

Here is the full recipe with step by step pictures.

You need:

2 round puff pastry doughs (roughly 600gr in total)

For the almond paste:
200gr ground almonds*
75gr soft butter**
100gr sugar
a few drops of almond or vanilla extract if you like it or replace some of the sugar with vanillated sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk for the outer layer
a trinket for example a coin you cleaned before
* I chose to mix 100gr almonds with 100gr Pralins which is a mix of caramelized almonds and nuts. I also put less sugar because of this
** You can put less butter and it's ok you liquefied it before by mistake, like me, it will still be delicious.

 Take the puff pastry out of the fridge. Put one in the mold and pierce it with a fork. I also had to cut mine into a round shape to better fit my pan. Preheat the oven to about 200°C.
 Make the almond paste: mix together the almond powder, sugar, the extract if you put some, the soft butter and the eggs until they make a paste.
Put this paste in the puff pastry already in the mold. Spread the paste evenly and put your trinket close to the edge this will minimize the chances of it being found while cutting the cake.

Fix the second puff pastry on top like a lid and close it well. Make creative marks with your knife on the lid of the cake if you want to decorate it or put almond flakes on top.

 Cover with the egg yolk diluted in some water or milk. Make some holes so the cake doesn't blow up while baking.
 Bake at approx 210C for 30-40min. Check on it around min25 and make some holes if necessary. Et voila!
When you serve the cake, tradition asks for the youngest person to sit under the table and announce who will get the piece being served. This way there is no cheating. Can you guess where the coin was in my cake?

Tell me if you tried the recipe and if you found the surprise, did you feel like royalty?

I used for this recipe some inspiration from, from here and here.


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