King cake started in 12th-century France as something called galette des rois (which means to pull out the kings) –a simple puff pastry sprinkled with sugar. It was a way to celebrate the Epiphany or “King’s Day” — the day that the three wise men brought baby Jesus gifts. Eating the cake has long been a way to celebrate the day throughout Europe.
It is celebrated on the first Sunday of the new year. A trinket, known as “la fève” in French, is hidden in every cake and whoever finds it in the slice will be crowned as king or queen for the day.
For those avid bakers, make your own king cake this weekend and enjoy them with your family, the recipe is easy and the cake wont disappoint.
You can either prepare your own puff pastry with a little more effort. Alternatively, you can also get 2 ready-to-use pastries.
- 100g of grounded almond
- 80g of caster sugar
- 80g of soften butter
- 2 eggs
- Rum or bitter almond extract
- Optionally you can liaise with a little bit of “crème pâtissière”.
Step 1: Prepare the almond cream
Mix the grounded almond and the sugar. Add the soften butter and then 2 eggs.
Smooth the mixture with a spatula (you can use a mixer to fluff it).
Add flavour by adding some rum or bitter almond extract.
Step 2: Assembling the pastries
Roll the pastry and cut two discs from it with one slightly larger.
Flip over the two discs for a better rise.
Prepare the egg wash by mixing an equal weight of egg yolk and water, a pinch of sugar and pinch of salt.
Lay the almond cream on the small disc centre. The cream should be dense, not runny.
Brush the outside of the disc with the egg wash you’ve made, starting from the edge of the filling.
Place the second disc on top.
Make the edge stick while by pressing them with your thumb. Then use the technique “chiqueter ” : using a knife, make small cuts at almost a 90 degrees’ angle.
Cut off a small hole in the centre of the top disc : this is called the “chimney”. This will prevent sides from breaking apart when steam is created in the baking.
Brush top disc and decorate it.
Leave the galette in a cool place for at least one hour. Then finish up the decoration. Give another brush of egg wash.
Lay the galette on a sheet of baking paper
Halfway through baking, brush the coloured surface with a light sugar syrup (maple syrup will do).
Step 3 : Baking the galette
Preheat oven to 200°C. Start cooking and let the puff develop for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C and bake the pastry thoroughly for another good 20 minutes, until nice and brown.
Voilà! In three simple steps, you can enjoy your own king cake.
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