January 6th, 2008

Galette des Rois 2008

Coco&Me - Galette des Rois from PAUL

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January the 6th is an important date for anyone who’s knee-deep in Cake-love. Y’see, it’s a special date to consume a particular cake called the Galette des Roisa super delicious French cake made simply with flakey puff pastry & frangipane filling (almond cream & custard cream mix of 2:1 ratio).

(Note: some pâtisseries just use almond cream filling, & some pâtisseries sell other flavoured fillings as well as the ‘classic’ version. Ie: Hermé’s got several types, one of which is filled with his famous signature combo, the ‘Ispahan’, which is, rose-flavored almond cream, lychees & raspberries.)

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‘Scuse the pun, but the “charming” factor that gets everyone raving is that the galette hides a ‘fève’, a small ceramic (sometimes porcelain or plastic) charm. The lucky person who stumbles upon the fève in their slice is crowned the King or the Queen of the day, & get to wear the golden crown supplied. He/ she can also get to choose who can become their fellow King or Queen to enjoy such privilege together.

- I guess you can take this to your advantage & choose someone you fancy as a flirting tool! – That is if you’re single & available though! I guess I’d probably have to choose my D. – Then again… if George Clooney was attending the same party… … [!!] No, no, do not worry! (cough cough…).
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Of course, I ‘should’ mention that the date means a lot more than a cake-eating fest!

January the 6th (or the first Sunday of January) is a Holy date called the Epiphany, commemorating the Twelfth Night when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for baby Christ, thus by so doing revealing Jesus to the world as the Lord & the King (The term Epiphany means ‘to make known’).
- Although, I think nowadays many people attach no particular religious significance to the date, but just enjoy the culinary tradition of it alone. (- a bit like the modern day Christmas, non?)

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x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x
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Coco&Me - Galette des Rois from PAUL

(Medium size, measuring around 9 inch diameter was £11.00. Their large-size costs £14.00. The crown is white & gold, the traditional colour of Epiphany.)

Coco&Me - Galette des Rois from PAUL

(The fève, front & back view. The cake came with a note on which printed the following words: “BEWARE OF THE CHARM – Make sure you look out for our royal charm, hidden somewhere in this Galette des Rois, please don’t chip your tooth on it or swallow it. Whoever finds the charm in their slice is crowned King or Queen for the day, traditionally they also have to buy the next Galette.”)

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My Galette des Rois 2008 was purchased from the pâtisserie PAUL.

I guess if I was living in Paris I would have ordered mine from the likes of Hermé, or other super-artisanal pâtisseries, that are less ubiquitous. But this is London, & the only place I knew that would sell the Galette des Rois was this PAUL & Maison Blanc.

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In Hampstead, North London, these two chains exist opposite each other. In comparison, MB’s one looked rather sluggishly made, with the sides of the galette sloping outwards like a splat. PAUL’s was straighter & glossier, although the top surface was bubbled-up & uneven, the pattern poorly executed & was barely visible – definately not picture-perfect either. BUT, again, “this is London”, this is what had to do.

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Of course I could have made one myself. But y’know, dare I admit, I felt like hibernating. I know, I know, straight from my motivational blurb on my previous post about experimenting, it’s a bit embarrassing.

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But on this occasion, it turned out beautifully to my favor, because I re-realized that there’s nothing like the excitement that you get from especially travelling to “buy” a cake that you know will be delicious. And especially with this cake, I won’t know where & what design the fève might be!

(- Also, I often find that baking my own cake puts me off eating it slightly, because I know how much sugar & butter went in to it, which is… ‘a lot’!!)

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After purchasing the galette, when we were browsing in Waterstones Bookstore, I had the most wonderful experience of noticing that I received a straight-from-the-oven galette. The base of my cake box was hot to the touch, & the gorgeous smell of super-freshly baked pastry filled the air, the buttery-ness almost too over-powering. [!!] I urged D that we gotta go home a.s.a.p.! This baby’s too delicious to wait around!

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And guys. yes, it truly was heavenly delicious! The puff pastry had a glossy top, was delicately flaky, & was not too sweet, slightly salty even – it went well with the moist & sweet almond frangipane inside. After having a small bite, I decided to pour myself some Nilgiri tea. I know, I know I should stay away from caffeine, but I also knew the combo with the Nilgiri would work great to refresh the palette from the rich buttery-ness. A sip now & again between my bites. I just had to. A ‘erbal just wouldn’t be up to this job!
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PS: Gentle reminder.

Have you tidied away your Christmas decoration? Apparently “Twelfth Night is when all Christmas Decorations should be removed so as not to bring bad luck upon the home.” [!!]

12 Comments »

  1. Looks delicious. You are fortunate to have a Paul’s nearby. I can only dream of their savoury pastries.

    Comment by Esmeralda - January 10, 2008 5:10 am

  2. Hi Esmeralda, so PAUL hasn’t branched out to the US yet? They are good, they produce beautiful & delicious stuff! I notice on yr blog that you visited Alsace, & Christine Ferber’s shop! oooooooh, j.e.a.l.o.u.s.y! Lucky you! It’s my no.1 dream destination…! xx

    Comment by tamami - January 10, 2008 11:17 am

  3. Happy Belated New Year, Tamami-san,

    It was hot day down here in Miyako (27 degrees Celsuis, waaay too warm for January !! )
    Under the summer like weather, Miyako island hosted the annual 100 km run today (I was nearly faint when I heard about it for the first time). Those ultra runners participated in the swooning event from across the nation looked so cool and enjoying the run so much. And Miyako got more attention today when NHK(Japan’s public broadcasting station)news reported nation wide that the cicadas have already come out and started chirping in Miyakojima. The cicadas usually come out in mid /late April.. But the recent warm weather, which I believe it is definitely due to the effect of global warming, has misguided the poor cicadas.

    I’ ve enjoyed driving with my partner and our lovely Welsh corgi-like dog. Please imagine that we are biting into ice cream at the tip of cape overlooking a 360-degree panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea.

    Take care!

    toyomi

    Comment by toyomi - January 12, 2008 3:14 pm

  4. うわー!いいなー!27 degrees?! (here in Ldn, its too cold for me to go to the park!) And 100km?! I can’t start to imagine how long it must have taken these runners to run to the finish line! sugoi…
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    Re: the chicadas. I’m squirmish when it comes to insects. I blame my mother for this, because she was – & I guess growing up with yr mom hating it made me hate ‘em too. Although, now that I am a mother myself I pretend to love them…
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    We (D & I) often think about what & where we’d like to visit next time we go to Japan, & Miyako is often talked about! いいなー。。。I’d love to bite in to ice cream with such beautiful panoramic view… いいなー。。。! You sound like you really enjoy your life there.

    Comment by tamami - January 12, 2008 7:56 pm

  5. Happy New Year Tamami!
    How nice to see that you too know the galette des rois :). As a French (and non-dairy vegetarian) living in Germany, where this pastry is mainly unheard of, I had to make my own galette. As I don’t use butter and really dislike the taste of margarine, I used almond butter in the filling and a simple pate brisée (with olive oil in it) instead of the pate feuilletée. It was really nice, though I could have put a little bit more sugar and some oatmilk in the filling. Next year I’ll be wiser ;).

    Comment by Agnès - January 15, 2008 8:57 pm

  6. Happy New Year to you too Agnès!
    I didn’t know that you were a non-dairy vegetarian! D (my partner) is German (but has been living in UK since ’89) & informs me Vegetarianism is quite common over there. is that right? (I think his big sister is also vegetarian & on top of that macrobiotic. I remember she was excited to buy a Daikon-radish in Hamburg & took it home to Frankfurt!)

    No butter huh?
    Must be difficult to come across foods that are within your requirements when out & about in town – I sometimes get customers asking wether i sell anything with ‘no’ butter in it at my stall, to which I reluctantly say ‘everything has…’…

    Comment by tamami - January 15, 2008 11:04 pm

  7. Ohayou Tamami!
    Your partner is right, vegetarianism is quite common over here, but unfortunately not the non-dairy form of it (and I’m a mostly-organic one on top of that ;)). On the other hand lots of Germans are so fond of meat that one can get a lot of silly comments rather easily.
    And yes, eating out is a nightmare, at least in my town, Kiel. If there is one vegetarian dish in a restaurant you can bet there is cream and/or cheese in it.
    If you’re interested in trying out non-dairy or vegan pastry recipes I suggest that you take a look at some vegan blogs (my favourite one is VeganYumYum, she does amazing things) for inspiration. I don’t know how good your French is but it seems to me that you should at least be able to read a cooking book in this language ;). Therefore I would recommend Valérie Cupillard’s books to you, especially her gorgeous “Desserts bio: Saines gourmandises au fil des saisons”. She is an organic non-dairy vegetarian cook (though she sometimes uses some goats cheese, but never in her cakes and sweets of course) who really has wonderful ideas.
    And my own butter substitute: olive oil and/or nuts butters (almond, hazelnut, cashew… depending on the cake/sweet…).
    But that’s only if you’re interested ;).

    Comment by Agnès - January 16, 2008 8:20 am

  8. I know what you mean by Germans keen on eating meat! ;-) D’s dad was a butcher – and when we went around to his house, he was eating a minced meat mixture/ pate that was combined with lard… – and had a fat rabbit living at his allotment, ready for that yr’s Xmas dinner – I hope he was joking about eating it… he even named it!
    - Cheers for the vegan/ veggie tips! I will look in to it! ;-)

    Comment by tamami - January 16, 2008 11:20 am

  9. I’m just about to make one too, i LOVE these! used to have them all the time in france when I was little. Stuffed myself silly trying to get one of the pieces! haha
    Great site! :)

    Comment by la petite chef - January 16, 2010 7:01 pm

  10. Hello la petite chef – Ditto! I’m just thinking of making the galette this week too!! The fève, I love – this year I got two new ones – a matching girl & a boy. Got the cake shop to give me two!

    Comment by tamami - January 17, 2010 4:25 pm

  11. Hello!
    You can now find the galette des rois in the new french bakery in the center of London called Le Montmartre on 46 fleet street.
    http://www.lemontmartre.co.uk

    Comment by Nordine - December 22, 2010 4:48 pm

  12. Nordine, thank you for the link & good luck with the making the galettes!! x

    Comment by tamami - December 23, 2010 1:33 am

 

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