The King cake is coming…

Galette frangipane

We might say Goodbye to Christmas and its trees and decorations, but we will not say goodbye to the food… Why? Because King cake is coming. This year, the starting date will be Saturday 6th…. This week!

For those who wonder what is the “King cake”, let us explain it to you…

The “King cake” takes its name from the biblical kings, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

In Western Christian liturgical tradition, the Epiphany celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.

Galette des rois

For the occasion, the tradition is to eat a “King cake”. But what is it?

” A King cake is a type of cake associated with a number of countries with the festival of the Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival.”

This cake contains a lucky charm representing a character. Back in time, this lucky charm used to represent Jesus Christ, but nowadays, this celebration became popular in the entire countries who celebrate it and the tradition stayed, even if characters can now come from cartoons, movies or literature. The goal is to get the lucky charm, therefore, to choose the good slice. Indeed, the person who finds it becomes The King/Queen of the table and has to choose his Queen! King!

galette des rois

Copyright: Photographer Christophe Doucet

Today we are sharing with you two recipes of King’s cake. The first one is called the “Frangipane” and the second one, a “brioche”. The first one is layers of puff pastry filled with almond cream, and the second one is a circular yeasted cake, more popular in the south of France, festooned with colorful, sticky candied fruit. If you are too lazy to follow the different steps to make a King cake, we recommend you to go to Pitchoun Bakery in Los Angeles, where you can try both of them and for a reasonable price! –> Pitchoun Bakery (Chef Frederic Souliès) (Address: 545 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013). The following bakeries are also providing the King Cake:

Sweet Temptations (Chef Yvan Valentin), Chef Josette Bistrot, Chaumont Bakery (Chef Laila Laski), La Chouquette (Chefs Elodie & Dan Darmon), Mademoiselle M (Chef Mathilde Mazet), Ladurée (Chef Claire Heitzler), Michelina (Chef Vincent Benoliel), and Frenchifornia (Chef Guillaume Delcourt)…

Galette des rois

Make a “Frangipane”: 

galette des rois

Almond Filling

– 1 cup (100g) almond flour
– 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
– Pinch salt
– Zest of 1/2 orange, unsprayed
– 3 1/2 ounces (100g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
– 2 large eggs, at room temperature
– 2 teaspoons rum
– 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
– 1 pound (450g) puff pastry, divided into two pieces, chilled
– A whole piece of almond or candied fruit to be the fève
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 teaspoon milk
1. To make the almond filling, in a medium bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the almond flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Mash in the butter until it’s completely incorporated. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, along with the rum and almond extract. (The mixture may not look completely smooth, which is normal.) Cover and chill.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of puff pastry into a circle about 9 1/2-inches (23cm) round. Using a pot lid, plate, or bottom of springform pan as a template, trim the dough into a neat circle. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
3. Cover it with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic film, then roll the other piece of dough into a circle, trim it, and lay it on top. Chill the dough for thirty minutes.
4. Remove the dough and almond filling from the refrigerator. Slide the second circle of dough and parchment or plastic from pan so that there is only one circle of dough on the parchment lined baking sheet. Spread the almond filling over the center of the dough, leaving a 1-inch (3cm) exposed border. Place an almond or a piece of candied fruit to act as the fève (prize) somewhere in the almond filling, if you wish.
5. Brush water generously around the exposed perimeter of the dough, then places the other circle of dough on top of the galette and press down to seal the edges very well. (At this point, you may wish to chill the galette since it’ll be a bit easier to finish and decorate, although it’s not necessary. It can be refrigerated overnight at this point, if you wish.)
6. To bake the galette, preheat the oven to 375ºF (180ºC.) Flute the sides of the dough (as shown in the photo) and use a paring knife to create a design on top. Stir together the egg yolk with the milk and brush it evenly over the top – avoid getting the glaze on the sides, which will inhibit the pastry from rising at the edges. Use a paring knife to poke 5 holes in the top, to allow steam escape while baking.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the galette is browned on top and up the sides. (During baking, if the galette puffs up too dramatically in the oven, you may want to poke it once or twice again with a paring knife to release the steam.) Remove from the oven and slide the galette off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack. The galette will deflate as it cools, which is normal. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Make a “Brioche”:

galette des rois

For the pre-dough
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 0,5 Oz (15g) fresh yeast
For the dough
  • 2¼ flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp orange flower water
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • Orange zests
For decoration
  • ½ cup pearl sugar
  • 2,5 Oz (70g) candied fruits
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 bean (hidden in the cake)

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1.  For the pre-dough: warm the milk (at 86 F). Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, mix quickly, and let set for about 1 hour, covering the bowl with a tea towel.
2. For the dough: pour the remaining flour on top of the pre-dough, then add the salt, sugar, and beaten eggs. Knead the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hands) for about 5 minutes on low speed, and 5 minutes on medium speed.
3. Add the diced butter, softened at room temperature, the orange zest, and the rum. Mix again for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If not, add a little bit of flour.
4. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 1 more hour at room temperature, until double in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Form a bowl with the dough and flatten it with your hands onto a lightly floured surface into a circle of about 8-10 inch (20-30 cm) in diameter.
6. Make a hole in the center of the dough with the help of your finger, then gradually expand the center hole, slight chalking the edges to prevent the dough from sticking. Do not forget to hide the bean inside the dough, from below the dough, closing the edges around.
7. Transfer the dough onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper, then brush with the egg and milk mixture. Sprinkle some candied fruits and pearl sugar.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the king cake is golden brown. Tips: you can place a glass in the center of the cake while baking, to keep a regular shaped circle.


Solène Jouan

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