GALETTE DES ROIS – THREE KINGS’ CAKE
We first encountered this galette while we were living in Paris in 1973-1974 and all the patisseries suddenly were decked out in these cakes covered with paper crowns right after Christmas. Our first galette contained a little ceramic human figure instead of a bean. We used this figure in our own galettes for many years. The last time we were in Paris for Epiphany we were disappointed to learn that the galettes now contain little toys instead of human figures so that they are more like cracker jack boxes than the traditional galette. Some things should not change!
This galette has been a Sienkewicz family tradition ever since 1974 and is one of the reasons why we celebrated the Feast of Epiphany with gifts from the Three Kings while our children were small.
10 inch diameter spring form pan.
About 1 hour at 350°
Make piecrust using 1 ½ cups flour and ½ cup butter. Set aside.
Almond custard filling:
2 cups milk
3-4 egg yolks and 1 large egg
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
2-6 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon almond extract, or more to taste
1 cup blanched almonds, ground fine in blender or food processor
1 unblanched almond, dry kidney bean, marble, etc.
Heat the milk to scalding (nearly boiling) in the microwave.
In a 1 quart glass or other microwavable bowl, combine the sugar and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well with a whisk. Add the flour & whole egg at the last and beat vigorously until light and creamy. Gradually whisk in the scalded milk and beat well. Return to microwave and bring to boiling, whisking every 30 seconds or so. Allow to boil for one minute. Mixture will be very thick. Remove from microwave and drop dots of butter over surface of pudding, so that no “skin” forms. Allow to cool slightly, then stir in almond extract and ground, blanched almonds. Amounts of both butter and almond extract may be adjusted to your own taste. Allow to cool to nearly room temperature, because very hot filling will “melt” the pie crust as you assemble the galette. Add the bean/ almond/ marble/ whatever to the filling before pouring it into the crust. No fair marking where it lands!
Divide the crust into two balls, the smaller one roughly one third of the dough & the larger one roughly twice that size. Roll the smaller dough ball to make a circle ten inches in diameter – use the top of the springform as a template to cut the top of the galette. Set aside. Roll the larger one out into a circle large enough to cover the bottom of the springform pan and go up the sides to the top. You will find it easier to fill if you can fold some points of the edge back over the top, to keep the sides from sagging back to the bottom. When the pan is lined with the larger piece of dough, pour in the almond cream and smooth the top. Fold the edges of the crust back over the top of the cream. Moisten one side of the 10 inch disk with water and center it over the galette – the water will help the two pieces of pastry to bond. Brush the top of the galette with milk, sprinkle it lightly with sugar. Use the tip of a sharp paring knife to cut a star, crown pattern or other decorative shapes in the top crust. Bake at 350° until pastry is well browned. Allow to cool 5 or 10 minutes before running a sharp knife around the edge of the galette and removing the spirngform pan sides. Serve galette at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers. It is traditional that the person who finds the bean gets a crown and becomes “King” for the day. If that person is an adult, s/he is supposed to provide champagne to the other adults present. If that person is a child, s/he is supposed to just enjoy being crowned King.