Today, 6 January, is Epiphany. To celebrate, Zorra of Kochtopf has invited us to buy or bake a King Cake and to discuss our family Epiphany tradition. Although there is no family tradition on my part, and I in fact only learned about King Cakes when I started reading food blogs, I've always wanted to make a King Cake. You can find out more about the origin of the King Cake here.
Originally, my plan was to make the yeasted American version of the King Cake, as featured at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. However, my heart was stolen by the elegant French galette des rois. Armed with home-made puff pastry from my Essential Ingredient baking class (the last piece!), how could I resist?
I used this recipe for the Galette Des Rois, but omitted the feve (as I don't think my colleagues would be very appreciative of it, given that King Cakes are not a tradition among any of them either, to my knowledge) .
Basically, you cut out two 9 inch rounds of puff pastry. Place one round of pastry on a silpat mat, and brush a one inch border around the edge of it with egg wash.
You make a pastry cream and an almond cream, combine them, and then pile the mixture into the centre of the puff pastry ring, inside the egg wash border:
Finally, you top the tart with the other round of puff pastry, and seal the edges together by crimping them with a fork. You carve a design in the top of the tart using a sharp knife (I used a traditional swirly design), and cut a hole in the top of the galette to let out steam during baking:
The galette is then refrigerated for half an hour before baking in a hot oven for 40 minutes. The finished result is shown in the photo at the top of this post.
This galette was really quite fun and not very hard to make. I love pastry cream, so couldn't resist licking the bowl - any excuse to make it ;).
You can check out the King Cakes and shared traditions from everyone who came to Zorra's event after 12 January at Zorra's site.