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The BloggerAid Cookbook

Galette des Rois (Kings' Cake) - Frangipane Filling

La galette des rois (kings' cake) is sold all over in France starting from 1st January until end of January to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6. There are traditionaly two versions - in the South, it is a brioche covered with sugar and some fruit paste while the northern part of the country, it is a richer pie made with frangipane (a sort of almond paste) filled puff-pastry. Besides the paper crown that comes with the cake, there is also a hidden porcelain figurine 'la fève' (a charm) in the paste and the person who finds it in their slice will be crowned king or queen for the day. Traditionally, to distribute the slices randomly, the youngest member of the family will go under the table and calls out the name of the person around the table whom she wants the next slice to be served until everyone has their slice on their plate. Then that's where the fun begins, everyone looking at each other wondering who got the lucky 'fève'... and chewing carefuly as not to end up at the dentist!

In Pierre's family, this tradition of slice distribution used to fall onto my sister-in-law until Little One was born. So when she turned 2½ years old last January, she took over that important role. Being a little chipmunk, the idea of going under the table and commanding who gets the first slice greatly appeals to her. That being said, she couldn't help and keep peeping out of the table just to make sure that we didn't cheat. Needless to say, she wants to be crowned PRINCESS of the day regardless who got the fève. LOL!

January has always been my special and favourite month of the year. Do you know why? Have a guess! But now there's another reason to like this month even more - I get to eat my favourite Galette des Rois through out the whole month. YEAH! Last year I made my very first attempted to make this galette and much to my surprise it was so easy to make. One simply can't go wrong except maybe if you are half as distracted as me while making it, in which case you'll ended up with a very brown galette (as shown in picture below). LOL!

Galette des Rois (Kings' Cake)
Ingredients
  • 2 packets puff pastry (home-made or store bought)
  • 90 g ground almonds
  • 70 g icing sugar
  • 90 g butter, melted (I use semi-salted butter as usual)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp heavy crème fraîche or heavy sour cream
  • 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
Galette des Rois
Ingredients
  1. Preheat oven at 220°C (425°F - gas mark 7).
  2. In a big bowl, mix ground almonds and icing sugar together.
  3. Stir in 1 1/2 beaten eggs to the dry ingredients until combine. Keep the rest of 1/2 beaten egg aside.
  4. Mix in the melted butter until it is well incorporated before stirring in the crème fraîche or sour cream. Make sure each new ingredient is well incorporated into the mixture before adding the next ingredients.
  5. Lastly mix in the almond extract.
  6. Lay out the first puff pastry (with it's baking paper) on a baking tray and lightly fork it all over the surface except the border.
  7. Spread out the frangipane evenly on the puff pastry leaving a space about 2 - 3 cm from the border (so that you can seal the dough well later).
  8. Now pick any spot and place the charm (la fève) lightly into the frangipane.
  9. Lightly wet the border of the first puff pastry.
  10. Align and place the 2nd puff pastry over the 1st pastry and frangipane, press to seal the edges making sure there is no big air bubbles underneath it. . If it happens, don't sweat over it. Your tart will come out just as nice but puff up in the centre.
  11. Mix a little bit of milk into the left over 1/2 beaten egg. With a pastry brush, brush this milky egg mixture all over the surface of the puff pastry, making sure that every corner is covered.
  12. With the sharp end of a sharp knife, start carving designs on the top without piercing it through.
  13. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until pastry is puffed up and golden brown. If your pastry is browning too quickly, lightly cover the top with a foil or baking paper.
  14. Let it cool a bit before serving. It can be served slightly warm or room temperature.
  15. Before serving it, make sure the youngest of the family is under the table calling the name whom she wants a slice of galette to be served first. And lastly, don't forget to have a crown ready to crown the King/Queen who finds the charm (la fève).
Galette des RoisGalette des RoisGalette des Rois
The Verdict

Mmm... sorry to say that it tastes even better than the ones from the bakery. Yes, I'm conceited. I love the mixed taste of sweet mingled with just a tint of salt (salted butter!) and the almond flavour is just right with the crispy puff pastry... mmm... Simply yummilicious!

Notes

For those who have a very sweet tooth, do increase the quantity of sugar as sweetness of this recipe is just nice. If you don't have almond extract, you can replace it with vanilla essence.

Galette des RoisGalette des Rois
24 comments on this post.

Orange-Almond Cake

Do you know that Mother's Day is celebrated on different days throughout the world? For example, Greece celebrates it on the 2nd February while Thailand celebrates it on the 12th August and Indonesia on 22nd December. I have always thought everyone everywhere celebrates Mother's Day on the 2nd Sunday of May (11 May 2008) like in Singapore. To my surprise, in France, Mother's Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of May. At first it was kinda strange for me to celebrate it 2 weeks later than Singapore but over the years I have gotten used to it.:-)

Yesterday we celebrated Mother's Day in France. The weather was a bit cloudy but that didn't stop us from doing a BBQ on our terrace.:-) The honey marinated chicken thighs (that I have specially prepared for Little One) turned out beautifully and delicious but to my utmost disappointment, Little One wanted nothing to do with it. *sigh* Oh well, her loss, our gain.:-p Next time, I'm going to BBQ chicken wings ...yummy.

For Mother's Day, Little One got me a nice Lafuma recliner (via her papa) that I wanted so much for the coming summer days.:-) Pierre wanted to buy a cake for me but I said 'why waste money when I can bake one for us.';-) I decided to take this opportunity to do another experiment. This is what I made yesterday and is part of my contribution to this month's Sugar High Friday host by Helen of Tartelette :

Orange-Almond Cake
Ingredients
  • 180 g self rising flour
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 180 g butter
  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 whole orange (peel grated)
  • 80 ml orange juice
  • 3 eggs (white and yolk separated)

Creamy Chocolate Icing

  • 200 g butter (cut into cubes & softened)
  • 150 g dark chocolate (melted)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4) and grease a round cake mold about 20 cm (diameter).
  2. Separate the egg yolk and white.
  3. Whip the butter and sugar in a big bowl until it is creamy and fluffy.
  4. Add in the grated orange peel and egg yolk and beat till well mixed.
  5. Add in the ground almonds and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in the flour and orange juice on alternate turns until it is combined.
  7. Whipped the egg whites till stiff peaks formed and delicately incorporate it into the mixture.
  8. Bake it for about 50 minutes or until the wooden stick comes out clean.
  9. Let it cool for about 10 minutes in the mold before turning it out on the wire rack.
  10. Once the cake is of room temperature, delicately cut away the slightly crusty border and round edge.
  11. Spread the chocolate icing all around the cake with the icing knife.
  12. Cake is ready to be served.
  13. The cake needs to be kept refrigerated because of the icing.

Creamy Chocolate Icing

  1. Whipped the butter in a bowl with an electric beater.
  2. Slowly add in the melted dark chocolate bit by bit until all is well mixed.
  3. Refrigerate it for about 5 to 10 minutes before spreading it on the cake.
The Verdict

The cake itself is very aromatic - the delicious taste of orange and almond together. It is compact and just moist - not as dry as I thought it would turned out, and a bit crunchy when you hit on almonds. As for the icing, hmm ... not exactly to my taste - I find it a wee bit too creamy and buttery, however Pierre likes the contrast - slightly salty creamy icing with the sweetness of the cake. (salty because we always buy salted butter)

Ooops, I just realized that I didn't add the right quantity of dark chocolate in my icing. Perhaps that is why my icing tastes so creamy, buttery and salty.:-p

Note

I wanted to whip up 3 egg whites but I was clumsy in separating the first one so I ended up with 2 white eggs instead for my above cake.

If you want a more moist cake, perhaps you can add a bit more juice and adjust the baking time.

orange-almond cakeorange-almond cake
11 comments on this post.

Rich & Moist Chocolate-Almond Cake

Yesterday I woke up with a super craving for a sinfully rich chocolate cake - you know the type that definitely choke up your artery kind - moist and slightly gooey. mmm:-D So off I went browsing through my special chocolate cook books - there are so many to choose from but I fell in love with this one.

Rich & Moist Chocolate-Almond Cake

(taken from Le BA-ba du Chocolat)

Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 30 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • 200 g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa)
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 g blanched almonds
  • 200 g butter (cubed)
  • 170 g sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
Rich & Moist Chocolate Almond Cake Ingredients
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 180°C (350°F - Gas mark 4).
  2. Grease the baking pan (about 20 cm in diameter)
  3. Roughly chop up the almonds (not too fine and not too big).
  4. Brown the chopped almonds in a non-stick pan on low heat.
  5. Melt the dark chocolate in bain-marie. As it starts to melt, stir it gently with a spatula. Once it is all melted and smooth, add in the cubed butter and stir gently till it is well mixed with the chocolate. Remove it from the heat.
  6. Separate the yolk and the whites. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and cinnamon till creamy.
  7. Blend in the chocolate butter mixture, then stir in the chopped almonds with a spatula.
  8. Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt with an electric beater till stiff peaks form.
  9. Delicately blend it into the chocolate mixture.
  10. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake it for 30 minutes.
The Verdict

It's exactly what I craved for - rich, moist, sinfully chocolaty with crunchy almond bits.:-D I like it as it is but Pierre felt that it would taste better if it is left in the oven for another 3 minutes or so.

Rich & Moist Chocolate Almond Cake
Notes

No blanched almonds in the cabinet? No problem.

Pour boiling water over the almonds and soak them for 1 minute. Drain and rinse them with cold water. Pat them dry. To remove the skin, just squeeze the almond between your index finger and thumb and the skin should just come off easily.

Rich & Moist Chocolate Almond Cake
25 comments on this post.

Almond Apple Pie

I've been wanting to bake an apple pie with almond fillings for some time, but I couldn't find an apple pie recipe that would fit the bill in any of my books. So I decided to be a bit creative and modify an existing almond pie recipe. I started from a Bakewell tart, which combines an almond filling over a layer of jam. I replaced the jam with slices of apples instead and prayed for the thing to turn right.

What got me motivated to make the pie today was this month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge 19 - Dinner and a DVD. You have to cook something to match one of your favourite movies. In this case guess which one goes with the apple pie... ? Yup, the famous teen comedy American Pie, where the poor and innocent pie suffered a humiliating fate. While my recipe is far from the classical apple pie, I hope it'll satisfy all the apple-pie lovers out there... but it's probably better enjoyed eaten:-p

american pie
Almond Apple Pie

(adapted from Bakewell tart recipe)

Pie crust

  • 125 g plain flour (shifted)
  • 90 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp ice water

Fillings

  • 90 g butter (soften)
  • 90 g sugar
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3 drops Almond essence
  • 70 g ground almonds
  • 40 g self raising flour
  • 3 to 4 golden apples (sliced)
Almond apple pie Ingredients
Directions

Pie crust

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4). Lightly grease the bottom of the 20 cm diameter pie dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar together and put in the diced up butter.
  3. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it form chunky crumbs or lumpy.
  4. Make a small well in the middle, add in almost all the ice water. Mix the dough delicately with your hands until it forms a ball of dough. Add more water if the dough is too dry.
  5. Roll out the dough in between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Gently place onto the pie dish and trim off the excess. Refrigerate it for 20 minutes.
  6. Line the pie crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill it with dry beans or rice. Bake it for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and carefully remove pie weights. Put it back in oven (without the weights) and bake it for an additional 7 minutes. The crust should be lightly golden. Cool completely before filling.

Fillings

  1. Peel, cored and cut the apples in slices.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it is smooth and creamy.
  3. Add in slowly the beaten eggs while continually whisking it and mix in the almond essence.
  4. Using a metal spoon, mix in the ground almonds and the shifted flour.
  5. Spread a layer of apple slices on the bottom of the baked pie shell.
  6. Pour in the batter and smoothen the surface.
  7. Spread another layer of apple slices on top of the batter.
  8. Bake it at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4) for 35 minutes. The pie should rise and golden brown.
The Verdict

It turned out surprisingly good. While it's a bit short of sugar for Pierre, it was most appreciated by the rest of the family. The texture is moist and soft, and has a nice almond flavor which fits very well with the apples.

Notes

In my hurry to get the pie ready for dinner, I forgot to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top of the apples as I had originally planned. And I would put more layer of apple slices (if thinly sliced) on the bottom and thicker slices on top.

Almond Apple pieAlmond apple pie
29 comments on this post.