For the Epiphany

By Mélanie, on Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy New Year !!

Did you have a nice and well-deserved vacation ? What can I wish for you for the next year? Travels and changes of scenery, a fulfilling job or hobby, of course a lot of learning, sharing fun times with the ones you love? And let’s not forget good food! ;-)

Wow. Now that I think about it, that’s exactly how I ended 2009 and started 2010! Traveling to Normandy wasn’t such a long journey, but it was indeed a change of scenery. The countryside was silent, even more when the snow started falling. The pale green of the meadows lighten by the winter sun was soon replaced by a pure white.

My friends and I had a great time visiting Lisieux and Honfleur. Yes, there was a snowball fight. And we enjoyed meeting the neighbors. I did learn the sheep language, as this one can testify. I’m not so good with horses, but my friend J. seems to master the art, as he even persuaded them to pose pour la photo.

The last thing that I came back with was a new idea for a cake. Pretty rare around these times, isn’t it? I can’t explain why I haven’t been feeling like baking for the last few months, there’s some personal stuff, and I’m not even sure to understand everything, so I have no clue what the future of this blog is. What I know is that as soon as I imagined the recipe, a smile was on my face : I was thinking about sharing it with you.

So yesterday I spent a few hours in the kitchen, and came up with this variation on the Galette des Rois (King cake). This pastry, made with a rich, flaky crust, and a frangipane filling, is traditionally served at Epiphany in North of France and Paris. It is so popular that you will find them in every bakery from the beginning of the year to the end of January (because you won’t eat only one…). A little bean, the “fève”, was traditionally hidden in it, but, since 1870 it has been replaced by porcelain or plastic figurines. This year, some bakeries have hidden a diamond or a Louis d’Or in one of their galette. Even a paper crown is included with the cake to crown the "king" who finds the fève! And to respect the tradition to the letter, the youngest person should place himself under the table and name the recipient of the share which is indicated by the person in charge of the service. All this to ensure a random distribution! We did not do that when I was a child, and I’m not sure the distribution was really random, as my brother and I happened to find the fève pretty often!

As I told you, the Galettes are usually filled with frangipane. Frangipane is a combination of pastry cream (1/3rd) and almond cream (2/3rd). But you know me, what I like even more than nuts, butter, or sugar are… fruits with nuts, butter and sugar! So I used pistachios instead of almonds for the cream, and combined them with cherries. Yummm… Cherries and pistachios… inside a flaky, buttery crust. Can you imagine? Yes, that’s rich, so don’t eat too much of this. Instead, share it on a Sunday afternoon with your family. And don’t forget to send one kid under the table for the distribution!

Galette des Rois with pistachios and cherries
For 6 people

2 9.5-inch discs of puff pastry (made with butter)
1 egg yolk

For the pastry cream
10cl milk
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

For the pistachio cream
1 egg
4 tsp almond flour
3 Tbsp ground pistachios
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
25 frozen or canned cherries, pitted

For the pastry cream:
Put the milk and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer. Turn off the heat.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisks the yolk with sugar. Sift cornstarch into yolk mixture; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure the yolks are well mixed with the milk.
Return to saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until pastry cream boils and is very thick, about 10 minutes. Keep the mixture at boil, whisking energetically, for about 3 minutes, then remove the pan from heat and let transfer to a large bowl, covering with a plastic wrap (against the surface, to prevent the formation of a film). Refrigerate the cream.

For the pistachio frangipane:
In the large bowl of your food processor, beat at high speed the eggs, the sugar and the butter until creamy. Add the ground almonds and pistachios, pulse until incorporated.

With a whisk, incorporate the pastry cream to the pistachio cream.

Lay the pistachio frangipane on one of the puff pastry disc, on on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The cream should be dense, not flowing. Spread the cherries on the cream.
Brush lower disc side with egg yolk and place the second disc on top. Press the sides together so that the frangipane won’t leak. Using a knife, do small cuts on the side (we call this “chiqueter”).
Cut off a small hole in the top disc centre, brush with egg yolk and decorate.

VERY IMPORTANT : Leave the galette in a cool place for at about one hour. I forgot to do that for my first one, and half of the filling ended on my cooking tray…

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 340°F and bake 20 to 30 minutes more.

The Galette taste better when warm.

Galette des Rois pistache griotte
Pour 6 personnes

2 disques de 25cm de pâte feuilletée pur beurre
1 jaune d’œuf battu pour la dorure

Pour la crème patissière
10 cl de lait
¼ de cuillère d’extrait de vanille
10 g de sucre
1 jaune
8g de maïzena

Pour la crème de pistache
1 œuf
50g de beurre à température ambiante
50g de sucre
15g de poudre d’amande
40g de poudre de pistaches
25 griottes denoyautées, en bocal ou surgelées

Pour la crème pâtissière :
Portez le lait et la vanille à ébullition sur feu moyen. Dès que le lait bout, retirez du feu et couvrez.
Dans le bol de votre robot avec la spatule, blanchissez le jaune avec le sucre. Ajoutez ensuite la maïzena en mélangeant bien. Tout en continuant de battre à la vitesse la plus lente, versez doucement le lait. Grattez les parois du bol et remuez pour que le mélange soit bien homogène.
Versez à nouveau la crème dans la casserole et portez à ébullition sur feu doux tout en remuant constamment avec un fouet. Une fois que le mélange bout, continuez à battre pendant environ 3 minutes, afin de rendre la crème plus légère. Retirez du feu et couvrez d’un film plastique (le film doit toucher la crème, pour éviter la formation d’une pellicule) et réservez au frais.

Pour la frangipane pistache :
Dans le bol de votre robot, battez les œufs, le beurre et le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange devienne crémeux. Incorporez la poudre d'amande et de pistache.

Ajoutez ensuite la crème pâtissière refroidie avec un fouet. La frangipane ne doit pas être trop coulante.

Déposez un disque de pâte feuilletée sur une plaque à pâtisserie recouverte de papier cuisson.
Disposez la frangipane au milieu, puis répartissez les griottes dessus.
Dorez les bords du disque avec le jaune d’œuf battu, et recouvrez avec le second disque de pâte. Pressez bien les bords ensemble, et chiquetez les en les bords de la pointe d'un couteau d'office.
Percez de la pointe du couteau au centre du disque pour la cheminée.
Dorez à l'œuf battu et décorez avec la pointe du couteau.

TRES IMPORTANT : il faut ensuite laisser la galette une heure au frais. J’ai oublié de le faire pour la première, et la moitié de ma frangipane s’est malicieusement échappée lors de la cuisson…

Préchauffez le four à 200°. Faites cuire 10 minutes, puis baissez la température à 170°C et continuez la cuisson pour 20 à 30 minutes.
La suite, please