Galette des Rois, or “Kings’ Cake,” is traditionally eaten on Epiphany. Brasserie (100 East 53rd Street, 212-751-4840) has been selling individual galettes with ice cream for the holiday and will serve them until January 13.
The pastry is also one of Larsen’s favorite desserts to prepare: “Galette des Rois is a wonderful French tradition. I am very fond of this cake, also named a Pithivier, a delightful classic recipe that combines the flakiness of puff pastry with a creamy almond filling. The top crust also lends itself to creative patterns — just be sure not to pierce the crust all the way to the cream.”
Galette des Rois
by pastry chef Ken Larsen of Brasserie
14 ounces (2 sheets) store-bought puff pastry
7 ounces butter
7 ounces sugar
7 ounces almond paste
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3 ounces flour
¼ cup whole milk
¼ cup light corn syrup
1½ tablespoons water
First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, for the almond cream: In a bowl, blend together butter, sugar, and almond paste. Scrape the bowl, add the two eggs one by one, followed by the flour. Mix until blended.
Fill a large pastry bag with the cream. Make a 1-inch diameter opening by cutting off the tip. Set aside.
For the galette: Roll out each sheet of puff pastry into an 8½-inch circle. Each circle should be about 1/8-inch thick.
Transfer one of the circles to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
Starting from the center of the circle, pipe a 5-inch diameter and 1-inch high mound of almond cream, leaving a border of approximately 1½ inches.
For the egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, egg, and milk until well combined. Brush lightly on the border.
Place the second circle of puff pastry over the first, pressing gently against the circumference of the almond-paste mound, to remove any trapped air.
Seal the edges of the two layers by pressing the top edge into the bottom edge. (This will keep the almond cream from running out as it bakes.)
Use a sharp paring knife to make diagonal indentations all around the sealed edges, creating a flower-like effect. Next, pierce a ½-inch slit in the center to allow steam to escape while baking.
Prepare the glaze by stirring the corn syrup and water.
Place the galette in the oven for about 20 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 330F.
Brush the galette with the glaze. (This adds sweetness, enhances the color, and gives it a crispy crust.)
Place the galette back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, until the crust has risen and is evenly browned. Remove from the oven. Cool on a wire rack.
The galette should be flaky and tender, and the almond-cream center should be moist. Slice with a serrated knife and serve while warm.