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.
|parchment paper, for the baking sheet|
|400 g||puff pastry dough||1 box|
|1/2 cup||butter, unsalted, soft||120 g|
|1 cup||icing/confectioners’ sugar||130 g|
|1 1/3 cup||almond meal||130 g|
|3||eggs size large|
|1 tbsp||rum||15 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.
- Preheat the oven to 205°C/400°F. Butter a large baking sheet (about 30 x 38 cm) and line with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake in the middle of the oven 20-25 min, until golden.
- Serve at room temperature.