Tuesday, January 10, 2012

we had an epiphany

Last Friday was Epiphany and that’s a big deal around here.  In other words, there’s a pastry for that.  In this case, the corresponding dessert is galette des rois or king’s cake.  Epiphany is officially the sixth of January, but galettes are eaten throughout the month to celebrate the arrival of the three kings who were believed to have visited baby Jesus around that time.

DSC_6682 epiphany evening in paris

A galette des rois is no ordinary cake.  In fact, the French word for cake is gateau, whereas galettes are generally comprised of a puff pastry shell with filling .  Galette des rois is a slightly sweetened, flaky pastry round, traditionally filled with frangipane (almond cream).  Other popular fillings are pomme (apple), framboise (raspberry) and poire-chocolat (pear chocolate).

The galette des rois craze is inescapable in France.  They are omnipresent in bakeries, grocery stores and even at the school cantine (cafeteria).  The allure for children is that buried somewhere inside is a small glass or plastic fève (charm) and whomever receives said charm is king or queen for the day.  To make things more festive, every galette comes replete with golden paper crown. 

galetted des rois look at all those frisbees

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of flaky pastries.  You can keep your croissants and fruit filled fritters.  I prefer something a little less greasy.  This is probably downright blasphemy in a city where every bakery display spills over with all manner of pâte feuilletée (puff pastry).  Despite this constant bombardment, I was content to stand my ground and observe the craze from a distance until Annabelle begged and I caved.

Traditional almond cream was out of the question due to my pesky nut allergy.  I wasn’t gung-ho about the fruit options either, so it came as a pleasant surprise when one bakery offered a ‘nature’ or unfilled version.  This afforded us the luxury of  adding the filling of our choice.  We broke with tradition entirely and filled our galette with gelato from the neighborhood gelateria.  That’s right.  Ice cream and puff pastry.  If that’s not redemption, nothing ever was.  The three kings probably rolled over in their graves, but we were quite pleased with the final result.

who will find the fève…

Annabelle was adamant that the fève be a surprise but I knew how badly she wanted it.  I intended to slip her the charm but my plan was foiled when she insisted on a different piece.  Instead, Naud found the fève and fortunately didn’t swallow it or break his tooth, as some have done.  He made a charming king and Annabelle was perfectly content to be his little princess. 

royally sweet

No comments:

Post a Comment