I have visited Paris in January twice, I was overwhelmed by the different versions of galette des rois available in almost every bakery I have been to. Galette des rois is traditionally served at Epiphany, January 6th. It is composed of two pieces of puff pastry baked with an almond filling, usually containing a “secret” charm or fève. When shared, the person who has the slice with the charm gets to be the king of the day. I think this is one of the most fun ways to welcome the new year.
The dessert is not nearly as popular in Vancouver, so this year I decided to make one at home with my own butter puff pastry. It may have been years since the last time I made puff pastry. Ever since working at a bakery, I must have made hundreds of batches on the sheeter. For me, it is almost therapeutic to roll out pastry by hand with a rolling pin. Of course, you can use frozen puff pastry as well, be sure to buy the all butter variety. Kicking off the first post with a galette des rois feels so celebratory, happy new year!
- 1 pound of puff pastry, frozen or homemade (recipe follows)
- almond filling, recipe follows
- 1 egg yolk + 2 tsp water, for egg wash
- 500 g all-purpose flour
- 250 g cold water
- 15 g salt
- 75 g unsalted butter, softened (dough)
- 425 g unsalted butter (for turns)
- 75 g / 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 75 g / 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp rum, optional
- 1 tbsp amaretto, optional
- a pinch of salt
- 75 g / 3/4 cup almond flour
- In a mixer bowl with a hook attachment, combine all ingredients except the butter for turns and mix on low speed for 3 minutes.
- Shape into a mall square package. Chill in the fridge overnight before lamination (layering with butter).
- Roll the butter for turns in parchment paper into a 8" / 20 cm square package, chill until ready to use.
- LAMINATION: Remove dough from the fridge. Roll the butter pack a few times with a rolling pin to get it to a similar softness to the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the four corners of the dough, place the butter pack inside and encase it with the dough, pinching in the seams. Roll out slowly into a rectangle of about 10" x 25", fold it into thirds like a letter (letter fold). Turn it 90 degrees, and roll into 10" x 30", fold it into fourths like a book (book fold). Wrap with plastic wrap and let the dough chill for about an hour before doing the next turns. Repeat the same process with one letter fold and one book fold. Cover the dough in plastic and let it chill overnight before using.
- In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and icing sugar until pale. Beat in egg and egg yolk until incorporated. Mix in almond flour, scrape down bowl and mix until homogenized. Fill it in a piping bag or cover bowl, chill in fridge until ready to use.
- Roll out puff pastry, cut out two 23 cm/ / 9" rounds. Dock bottom piece with a fork or a docker. Brush the edge with egg wash. Pipe almond filling in the centre, leaving about 2 cm around the edges. Place the other sheet on top. Press down on the edges to seal tightly. Place the galette in the fridge to let the glutens relax for about 30 minutes before scoring. Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C.
- Take out chilled galette, generously brush egg wash on the top, try not to let it egg wash drip on the sides of the pastry. With a paring knife, crimp the edges, and score a pattern on top, poke a hole in the middle to get the steam escape during baking. If the pastry is too soft, chill it a bit before baking.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway. The top should be shiny and golden throughout.
I am by no means an expert in making the galette as this was my first time. I figured that if I could make puff pastry and almond frangipane, I can put together a galette des rois!
If you are tempted to try making puff pastry at home, I would love to share some tips! I used a regular unsalted butter because that was the only one I had on hand. Otherwise I prefer to use a high fat butter (or “dry” butter), such as “European style” butter. That way, the layers rise higher, more flaky, and would have a more buttery flavour. The key to rolling puff pastry is keeping the temperature low, and working fast. When the dough too soft and warm, return it to the fridge to chill before rolling it again. It is also important to chill the filled galette before baking to prevent shrinkage as much as possible.