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So here we are the end of the Holiday Season with la Fête des Rois or Epiphany , now is the time to undo the Xmas decorations and fall into a kind of slumber which is January and February, the dull period of the year. The weather on the Island is uncertain, not cold not warm and a lot of overcast skies. Typical Northen European weather though we are in Atlantic Canada.

Tomorrow being la Fêtes des Rois the tradition in French culture is to have a special cake. The cake is to celebrate the visit of the 3 wise men to the manger to see baby Jesus, before his parents took him on a tax dodge to Egypt. I remember my mother making this cake or galette as it is called in French, an put a broad bean inside for one lucky kid to discover.

Celebrating the Epiphany with a gâteau des rois is a custom that originates from a Roman pagan ritual, which came to French Canada via France. The Romans would bake a cake, inside of which they would place a bean or a clay fish. Whoever discovered the object — regardless of his or her social status — would play king or queen for a day.

Recipe for the Gateau des Rois.

Ingredients

parchment paper, for the baking sheet
400 gpuff pastry dough1 box
1/2 cupbutter, unsalted, soft120 g
1 cupicing/confectioners’ sugar130 g
1 1/3 cupalmond meal130 g
eggs size large
1 tbsprum15 mL
white flour (all purpose), to roll out the pastry

Before you start

Defrost the puff pastry dough at room temperature for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The dough should be flexible but still feel cold to the touch.

A hand-held or stand mixer will make things easier for this recipe.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 205°C/400°F. Butter a large baking sheet (about 30 x 38 cm) and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using a mixer, until light and fluffy. Fold in the almond meal, 2 eggs and rum. Set aside. 
  3. On a lightly floured board, roll out the puff pastry to 2 rounds of about 10 in (25 cm) diameter, using a rolling pin. Place one round on the baking sheet.
  4. Transfer the almond mixture to the center of the round, leaving about 1 in (2,5 cm) on the edge. Drop one broad bean near the edge (to minimize the chances to find it when slicing the cake).Whisk the remaining egg with 1 tbsp water then brush the pastry edge. Cover with the second pastry round.
  5. Seal all around the edge, gently pressing with a fork. Drill tiny holes in the upper crust, to allow steam to escape. Brush the crust with the beaten egg.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven 20-25 min, until golden.
  7. Serve at room temperature.
A slice of galette des rois at Duc de Lorraine contains top-quality baker’s flour and butter. About 600 cakes were sold last year between Christmas and the end of January.