FRENCH, SWEET TREATS & DESSERTS
CHOCOLATE, SEA SALT & HAZELNUT GALETTE DES ROIS (FRENCH KINGS CAKE)
The Christmas festivities and New Year’s Day are just behind you, but wait! In France, there is one last day of celebration that awaits us. On the 6th of January, it is common to celebrate the Epiphany in France, a Christian holiday celebrated 12 days after Christmas which celebrates the three kings, or wise men, that visited Jesus.
This results in all the bakeries offering galette des rois, or kings cake, during the month of January. Most often, the galettes des rois are either filled with an almond frangipane or an apple compote filling. Inside each galette is hidden a fève, a little porcelain figurine, and whoever finds it is crowned king or queen (with the complimentary paper crown)!
In this version, I have upped the indulgence and replaced the almond frangipane with fragrant hazelnut cream and added dark chocolate chunks and sea salt. This recipe is seriously easy as it uses ready-made puff pastry sheets. It is absolutely delicious too – can’t beat a hazelnut and chocolate combo, can you? In my mind, it should definitely not just be reserved for the day of the kings, but enjoyed all year round!
FOR THE HAZELNUT CREAM
90g Unsalted Butter
100g Caster Sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
140g Ground Hazelnuts
80g Dark Chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
FOR THE GALETTE RECIPE
2 Sheets of Puff Pastry
1 Egg Yolk
2 tsp Milk
- Start by beating together the softened butter, sugar and ground hazelnuts together in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the eggs, one by one, and mix well until combined. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
TIP – If you don’t have or can’t find ground hazelnuts, simply blitz some hazelnuts in a grinder until it reaches a fine sandy texture as ground almond would. Ideally, these should be roasted or without the skin. If again you can only get raw hazelnuts, place them in your oven at 180ºC for 10 minutes. Once cool, you should be able to rub them in a tea towel and the skin should fall off.
- Preheat your oven to 200ºC/ fanºC 180/ gas 6.
- Your two sheets of puff pastry should be round and 25cm in diameter. If you have blocks of pastry, roll them out onto a lightly floured surface and cut them into a circle. Then, place one sheet of puff pastry on baking parchment.
- Evenly spread your hazelnut cream over the pastry, leaving a 2cm gap around the edges. Next, place your dark chocolate chips over the hazelnut cream, very gently pressing them down into it. Sprinkle over with the sea salt.
- At this stage, if you have a small trinket (called a fève), now would be the time to place it somewhere in the galette des rois. If you don’t have one, you can place a large whole nut instead.
- Mix the egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl. Brush the exposed edges of the puff pastry with some of the mixture.
- Cover the lower half of the galette des rois with the second sheet of puff pastry and seal the two sheets of pastry together by pressing over them lightly.
- Brush the galette with the remainder of the egg and milk mix. Draw a pattern over the top of the galette with the blunt edge of the knife, to avoid cutting your pastry. Start from the centre of the galette and draw arcs or try a zig-zag pattern if you like.
- Finally, place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
HOW TO SERVE A GALETTE DES ROIS
- The tradition for serving the galette des rois is to have the youngest member of the household go underneath the table and dictate who each cut slice of the galette goes to. The person who finds the fève or small trinket in his slice is crowned king or queen!