The Holiday Season is not quite finish, there is still one Feast left on 6 January, Epiphany. We had Holy Innocents on 28 December and the Feast of the Circumcision on 1 January.
Feast of the Holy Innocents
Feast of the Circumcision by Bellini
I especially love this great mosaic from the Church of St-Apollinaire Nuovo in Ravenna, a must see City in Italy. I saw it in 2010 and you will notice that the Three Kings come to the Manger from the West and not the East. They are also dress like Ostrogoths Chieftains and not some kind of Oriental Potentate. Ravenna was their Capital around 450 AD and Theodoric is buried there. Wearing pants like the Celts and Red Phrygian hats. This is how the invading hordes of barbarians crashed into the Biblical story and it was something the Roman Church welcomed since by putting them into the narrative they would be sure to convert to the true Faith, which they did.
One great tradition of Epiphany is the Galette des Rois or Kings cake.
My Mom always made one for that day and inside a coin would be hidden.
1/4 cup almond paste
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 dry kidney bean
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Place the almond paste into a food processor or blender with about half of the sugar, and process until well blended. Add the butter and remaining sugar using and process until smooth, then blend in 1 egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, flour and salt. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Butter a baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and set aside.
Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11-inch square. Keep the pastry cool, do not knead or stretch. Use a large pie plate, cake pan or frying pan to trace an 11 inch circle onto the dough using the tip of a small knife. Place the circle of pastry onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry. Refrigerate both sheets.
Mound the almond filling onto the center of the pastry that is on the baking sheet. Leave about 1 1/2 inch margin at the edges. Press the bean or fève down into the filling. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, and press down the edges to seal. Beat the remaining egg with a fork, and lightly brush onto the top of the galette. Use a knife to make a crisscross pattern in the egg wash, and then prick several small slits in the top to vent steam while baking.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not open the oven until the time is up, as the pastry will not fully puff. Remove from the oven, and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Return to the oven, and cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.