Tag Archives: galette

Galette des Rois

Yesterday was Twelfth Night, the traditional end of Christmas festivities, and the day by which you’re supposed to have taken down all the decorations. We’re back to normal, but there are a couple of houses in the neighbourhood that are still holding on to the festive vibe.

So is that the end of the excitement? Well, not quite. Today (6 January) if Epiphany, so there is one last change to eat cake before we get to our resolutions to be healthier and more sporty in 2017. On of the cakes eaten on this day is the Galette des Rois (“cake of the kings”) which is popular in France and Belgium. It has a sweet almond filling between two layers of golden puff pastry. Probably best to start that diet on 7 January then…

We actually had one of these at work yesterday. We’d been discussing the phenomenon of “cake culture” and whether we should encourage or discourage the appearance of cakes in the office as part of a commitment to healthy eating. Afterwards, of course, I went to a bakery and rocked up with one of these guys, but we managed to agree it was OK, as this was a cultural cake, rather than a celebration of cake culture, so we were fine with that.

galettedesrois2
There is also a bit of fun that goes with this cake. Traditionally a ceramic bead would be added to the filling, and when the cake is cut and served, the person that finds the bead becomes king or queen for the rest of the day. If you buy a galette, you will usually get a golden crown to go with it, which the lucky monarch can wear to impress their subjects.

Now, you might be thinking that hiding a piece of ceramic in a cake is not a great idea if someone is hungrily tucking into it and they, oh, perhaps value their teeth? And you’d be absolutely right. As it turns out, I was the lucky king for a day at work, and it was a bit disconcerting to discover there was a piece of stone lurking in there. If you’re going to make one of these, I think the best way is to keep the tradition of something in the cake, but perhaps add a whole almond instead. All the fun, none of the risk of dental damage.

This is a very simple recipe to make. If you’re the sort of person that makes their own puff pastry, that’s great, but I am not one of those people. I bought mine from the store, and it makes life a lot easier. You just have to make the filling, then put it between two discs of pastry and bake it. But to make up for buying the pastry, I did make my own paper crown!

galettedesrois1

To make a Galette des Rois:

• 1 block of sheet of puff pastry
• 1 portion of filling
• 1 teaspoon apricot jam

• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 whole almond or trinket

For the filling:

• 100g butter
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 100g ground almonds

• 2 tablespoons dark rum

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F) and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

2. Make the filling. Cream the butter until soft, then add the sugar and beat well for a minute. Add the egg, almond extract and vanilla extract and mix until light and fluffy. Fold in the ground almonds, then add the rum and mix well.

3. Roll out the puff pastry so that you can cut two discs of at least 20cm, but try to get 25cm if you can. Cut out the two discs, and transfer one to the baking sheet. Use some of the beaten egg to moisten the edge of the pastry disc. Put the apricot jam in the middle and spread evenly, avoiding the egg.

4. Gently spoon the filling onto the pastry disc and spread it evenly – you might not need all the filling, particularly if the pastry disc is on the smaller side. Pop an almond or lucky charm into the mixture.

5. Place the other pastry disc on top, and working from the centre, use your hands to gently pat it down, getting rid of as many air bubbles as you can. Finally press down on the edges where you brushed the beaten egg to get a good seal. Crimp with a fork, then trim with a very sharp knife to get a neat edge.

6. Brush to top of the galette with beaten egg. Make a hole in the centre with a skewer to allow steam to escape, then use the back of a sharp knife to make a pattern on top of the galette.

7. Bake the galette for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and golden. You many need to turn it round half-way to get an even bake.

7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Warn your guests about any ceramic or metal lucky charms in the galette before serving!

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

Maple-Glazed Pear Tart

Today’s post is a very simple but delicious dessert I whipped up recently while staying with friends in Brussels. And boy, do I mean simple.

For regular readers, this might look rather similar to something I posted last year using some luscious crimson Victoria plums. And you would be right! But this time, I replaced the plums with pears, and glazed it with maple syrup rather than honey. I went for maple syrup for no other reason than it was to hand, in a one-litre bottle. Yup, people really do buy it in those quantities, even in Europe.

So just how simple is this? Well, think about it element by element.

The pastry? Rich butter puff pastry…but we got that from a shop, and it was handily already rolled out into a thin disc. Result!

The filling? Ripe pears, just peeled, sliced and artfully arranged on the pastry.

And to finish? A mixture of butter, maple syrup and mixed spice(*), melted together and brushed over the tart. Then it was a light sprinkling with sugar, bake, and that’s it. All in all, this took about 15 minutes to make.

That would be, 15 minutes to make not including time for me to stab my hand with a sharp knife while chatting. I had just finished slicing the pears and arranging them on the tart, and then I genuinely have no idea how this happened. All I know is that it was quick, painful and dramatic. There was a shocked gasp from the next room. Are you alright? I was indeed alright, but the sympathy soon evaporated as the others realised that the tart was quite unaffected by all this, and I was dispatched to a kitchen stool with a glass of wine, instructing someone else to finish the tart. Lesson learned!

To serve, I would not produce this straight from the oven. Rather, either enjoy it while just warm, or at room temperature, with a generous dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Simple, but delicious and just a little bit classy.

(*) We used a Belgian spice mixture called speculaaskruiden (spek-oo-lass-krow-den) in Dutch or épices à spéculoos in French. It’s a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. However, mixed spice or even Christmas Lebkuchengewürz can be used instead.

To make maple-glazed pear tart:

• 1 packet ready-rolled puff pastry (all butter) (approx. 200g)
• 5-6 ripe pears
• 25g butter
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
• pinch of mixed spice
• 1 tablespoon caster sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Place the pastry on a baking sheet. Use your fingers to crimp the edges.

Peel the pears. Cut into quarters, remove the seeds and core, plus any stalk fibres, then cut into slices. Arrange the slices in an overlapping and artistic pattern on the pastry, pushing them slightly into the pastry.

To make the glaze, put the butter, maple syrup and mixed spice in a saucepan. Heat until just melted, then brush it over the pears. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar.

Bake the tart for around 20 minutes until the pastry is golden at the edges and the pears are just browning (you might need longer, depending on your oven).

Worth making? This is one of the quickest, simplest desserts you can make, and it’s easy to do with things in the cupboard, fridge and the fruit bowl. It’s also easy to change depending on what you’ve got to hand.

 

6 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things, Uncategorized

Plum Galette

I was overjoyed to find a punnet of Victoria plums on a farm stall at the weekend. I saw them, charged over, possibly skipped the queue and made them mine with a minimum of delay. All this because it is a fruit of which I have very fond memories. In the house where I grew up, we had a Victoria plum tree, and year after year, it provided a magnificent yield of sweet yellow-fleshed plums with red skin. As a child, these were also pleasingly large, and there never seemed to be any question about us not being able to eat as many as we could manage.

The usual answer when I have plums would be to make jam. Victoria plums produce a lovely russet-coloured preserve, but I have a bit of a glut of the sweet stuff at the moment. Something else was called for. What about something everyone likes, a fruity French tart? Okay, sniggering aside, a great way to prepare fruit is a simple puff pastry base, pile on the fruit, and bake in the oven. Assuming the fruit was photogenic to start with and you have been a little bit artistic in how you arrange the fruit, you get a chic/rustic tart.

The great thing about a fruit galette is that you don’t have to put in much work to end up with a spectacular looking (and tasting) tart. I’m a busy person, and I don’t make puff pastry. I do know the theory and I can make pretty good puff pastry, but I am also quite happy to buy one of the excellent all-butter versions that you can buy. There, I’ve said it, and I’m not embarrassed!

Just prepare the pastry base, fold over the edges (which have the dual function of creating a pastry “frame” for the fruit, and stopping all the fruit juices seeping out and creating a big, sticky mess in the bottom of your oven), then fill with fruit of your choice. Plums work well as they also look attractive when laid out in the centre, but equally dramatic results come with apple, gooseberry, cherry or blaeberry (one I plan to make in the near future).

In my version, as the plums I had were very ripe, I didn’t want the tart to be overly-sweet. I just brushed the fruit with a little orange blossom honey and baked. The result was sublime. The fruit does not become sweet, but keeps a  little kick of tartness, which is something that I very much like when eating this sort of baked fruit item. A wondeful combinaton of colour, fragrance, flavours and crisp butter pastry. Somehow fitting for that most regal member of the plum family.

For plum galette:

• 200g puff pastry
• 8 large plums
• 25g butter
• 2 tablespoons liquid honey (orange blossom or acacia)

• 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan, and put to one side.

Roll the pastry into a large rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet, and fold over 2cm on each edge and press lightly. Brush the centre with the melted butter (use about half of it).

Cut the plums into eighths. Arrange on the pastry, alternating the direction in each row (see the picture).

Add the honey to the melted butter, heat and stir well until very runny. Brush the plums with the honey-butter mixture and sprinkle the granulated sugar over the plums (avoiding the pastry). Place the galette in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Transfer the galette from the fridge to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200°C (390°F), and cook for another 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit looks soft and dry on the surface.

Worth making? This is a really great and really easy dessert. Quick to make, and easy to play around with the type of fruit you use to suit what you like. Surely worth trying.

6 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things