I love an easy, impressive dessert. I want few ingredients, little to no elbow grease, and a big payoff at the end. The galette des rois delivers on all fronts. Often made for Three Kings’ Day at the beginning of January, there’s really no better time to make this dessert than whenever the heck you want it. Make it for your partner’s birthday, friends dropping in for dinner, or a sweet surprise on Valentine’s day. With the wonders of pre-made puff pastry, all the hard work is done. In about 40 minutes, you can have a stunner of a dessert.
A galette des rois is essentially puff pastry filled with a simple frangipane. There’s an optional féve (trinket or bean) for Three Kings’ Day, but I don’t find surprise choking hazards in my dessert to be much fun, so we’re leaving that out. The “hardest” part of this recipe is making the almond cream filling, which is as easy as mixing the six room temperature ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon for 60 seconds. The Spruce Eats has a very simple frangipane recipe where they even use a food processor to take care of business. I would only switch out the vanilla extract for almond extract if you have it because it makes all desserts better.
Once the frangipane is mixed, unravel that jewel of the frozen aisle: store bought, all-butter puff pastry. Make sure it’s thawed according to the package’s directions, you won’t get very far if it’s frozen. You’ll need two sheets of puff pastry, cut into equally sized circles. You can use a guide, like a nine-inch cake pan on top, and trace it with a knife. Do this with both sheets of pastry. (Technically, you could omit the trimming and make a rectangular cake. No one’s the boss of you.)
Place one circle on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and brush the outer inch with an egg wash. Try not to let it dribble down the edge or it will impede the pastry’s puffing action in those spots. (Egg cooks at a lower temperature than the pastry, so the egg will harden before the pastry has had a chance to do its magic.) Fill the centre with an even layer of the almond frangipane, about one third of an inch. Lay the second sheet of pastry over top, and press the edges down gently to make contact with the egg wash, then egg wash the top. If you want to make a classic sun-burst pattern on top, or any pattern at all, now’s the time. Use the back of a paring knife (not the cutting edge) to indent the lines. Bake in a 220°C oven for 25 minutes. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
For a sweet nod to fast-approaching Valentine’s day, spread the thinnest of swipes of raspberry or strawberry jam on the pastry before you apply the frangipane. When you slice the pastry you’ll see a stripe of pink, and you’ll taste a hint of fruit. The galette des rois is best served day-of, but you can cut any leftovers into individual slices, wrap them well, and freeze them. When you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, simply revive it in a 180°C oven for 10 minutes.
Galette des Rois
- 2 sheets of store bought puff pastry, thawed
- 1 batch of frangipane
- 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam (optional)
- Egg wash
- Powdered sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Use an overturned cake pan to guide you as you cut a circle out of each sheet of puff pastry. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay one sheet of puff pastry in the centre.
Egg wash the outer-inch of the pastry. If using, spread the jam thinly in the centre. Spread a third of an inch of frangipane over the jam. Top with the second circle of puff pastry, pressing the edges so they stick to the egg wash. Brush a thin layer of egg wash over the entire top. Optionally, you can lightly decorate the surface with the back of a knife to make a criss-cross pattern, or star-burst. Bake immediately for 25 minutes. Cool and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
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