The Fête des Rois galette is filled with almonds and tasty holiday flavors. This traditional pastry is served each year at my Papa’s Alliance Française in Aiken, South Carolina – where a surprising number of French and French Canadian transplants have made their homes. The tradition follows as such: on Epiphany (the Twelfth Day of Christmas – January 6th), the Three Wise Men visit Baby Jesus for the first time. The Wise Men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn King, but French Canadians like to bring a galette, some good booze, and stand around a piano singing rowdy holiday songs into the night. When it’s time to cut the galette, all have a slice and the lucky dog who finds the bean in his/her slice is crowed the king/queen for the year and – here’s the fun part – gets to choose a ruling counterpart as well.
Here’s a simple galette recipe for your own holiday celebration:
FÊTE DES ROIS GALETTE
(adapted from Pierre Liquois’ description to my Papa who told it to me)
- 1 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (frozen food dept)
- 1 stick Unsalted Butter
- ½ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Powdered Almonds (about 1 cup of whole raw almonds)
- 2 Whole Eggs
- 1 shot Rum or Cognac*
* A note on the Rum or Cognac: If you happen to live in Georgia and forgot to do your Galette shopping until Sunday, you’ll be glad to know that a small bottle of Rum-Flavored Extract (sold next to the Vanilla Extract) will do the trick for this recipe just as well as real Rum.
- 1 Additional Egg, beaten (to paint the top of the pastry before baking)
- 1 Whole Almond, Large Dried Bean, Small <1” Plastic Figurine (such as a baby), etc.
Set aside Puff Pastry to thaw at room temperature according to package directions (about 1 hour). Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Meanwhile, powder the whole or chopped almonds using a Magic Bullet or food processor. Or, alternatively, place whole almonds in a zip lock bag, seal, cover with a dishtowel, and beat with a hammer. The latter is an especially effective method right after your holiday guests announce their flights are cancelled due to widespread snow.
Mix butter, sugar, powdered almonds, 2 eggs, and the rum together in a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer.
Your puff pastry might be thawed by now. Carefully unroll one sheet and place in a 9” square baking pan. (Some galettes are round, some are square. This version is designed to fit the pan.) Scoop the almond mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet and smooth to an even layer. Drop in the Whole Almond / Large Dried Bean / Small Plastic Figurine anywhere you like. Place the second puff pastry sheet on top of the almond layer. The puff pastry may not fit perfectly at the edges, but remember that it will shrink as it bakes, and also that this pastry is a “tradition of the people” and doesn’t have to look like Martha made it. Finally, brush the top of the galette with the beaten egg.
Bake in the oven about 40 minutes or until the top is dark golden brown. Remove from oven promptly and let the galette cool. Transfer to a party platter and cut the galette on the diagonal into triangular or rhombus shapes for added fun. Let the party guests choose their own slice in the game of crowning the new year’s king or queen! Bonne Année!