Galette des Rois
This weekend, in honor of the Feast of the Epiphany, we will be baking a Galette des Rois. This is a splendid all-butter puff pastry dessert, light and flaky, with a sweet frangipan (almond cream) filling. The galette is approximately 8" in diameter and will serve 8-10 people nicely. The Epiphany is the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three Wise Men from the East arrived with gifts for the Christ child. In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is day on which its followers actually celebrate Christmas. Our version of the King's Cake is made in the Northern French tradition. A variation using brioche dough and fruit, called a Gâteau des Rois, is more common in Provence. Our Swiss Christmas Knot would certainly fall into that category.
Traditionally, a bean or small trinket is hidden in the galette. This custom goes back to the Roman Saturnalia festival, and the person lucky enough to be served the piece of cake with the bean was crowned king of the feast and awarded special privileges. In today's litigious America we have decided to eschew the placement of any small choking hazard in our dessert.
Our galette is crowned with an intricate scored design, which, in itself, should be a prize worthy of all your guests lucky enough to sample a slice of this special dessert.
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