On January 6th, Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Three Kings to the Christ child. Tradition asks that on the occasion, a cake be shared. Depending on the country, and even on the region, the name and recipe of that cake change. Therefore, it is named Driekoningentaart in Belgium, Roscòn in Spain, Bolo Rei in Portugal. In the Languedoc, Provence and Aquitaine regions in France, it is called Gâteau des rois (king's cake), Pogne in the Dauphiné and Pithiviers in the Loiret… These various specialities may be made out of puff pastry or brioche and stuffed with frangipane, chocolate and even dried fruits.
The common point of all these cakes is the charm that hides inside. The origins of this tradition go back to the Roman Empire, when the lucky one who discovered the charm could elect the king of the feast. Rooted in religion, the custom rapidly became a family event where the youngest guest would slip under the table and blindly allocate each slice so as no one would cheat and draw the charm for themselves. The person that finds the charm is crowned king or queen. In France, the most commonly spread is the galette des rois, made of light puff pastry, decorated with small criss-crossed nicks and browned in the oven. It is usually stuffed with frangipane, a mix of sweet almonds, butter, eggs and sugar.
To celebrate the Epiphany in 2017, the young and talented chef of Neva Cuisine Yannick Tranchant chose to add new flavours to the original recipe. He mixes the frangipane with a smooth hazelnut cream, in which he incorporates crystallised clementines to play on the sour notes of the citrus fruits. As for the charm, he decided to use an edible Tonka bean covered in a golden leaf, thus bringing the traditions forward. Discover the secrets of a pepped up recipe!
Yannick Tranchant reveals all its details here:
Galette des rois by Yannick Tranchant
2 puff pastries
50 cl milk
125 g sugar
6 egg yolks
40 g flour
1 vanilla bean
250 g butter
250 g icing sugar
125 g ground almonds
125 g ground hazelnuts
1 Tonka cocoa bean (to be found at your grocery)
2.5 cl rum
1 vanilla bean
500 g custard
5 cl water
50 g sugar
Crystallised clementines or orange marmalade
Pour milk in a saucepan with vanilla, and boil. In a bowl, mix egg yolks, sugar and flour and whisk briskly. Add to boiling milk. Bring to the boil for 3 minutes. Cool off.
With a whisk, mix lukewarm softened butter with ground almonds, ground hazelnuts and icing sugar, and grate part of the Tonka bean. Add eggs, rum and vanilla and end with custard cream. The frangipane is ready! Put it all in a pastry bag.
Roll out one puff pastry on the work surface. Starting from the centre, spread the frangipane in a snail shape with the pastry bag.
Bake the galette:
Steadily drop crystallised clementine or orange marmalade in for the note of citrus.
Lay in the charm: for something more original, use an entire Tonka bean.
Lay a second puff pastry on top and press the two puffs together inwards with the back of a knife. Hold it back with your thumb to create a lovely joint.
Brown it with an egg: whisk the egg, add a pinch of salt and spread on the puff pastry with a brush.
Prick the dough four times to vent the steam. With the tip of a knife, without pressing or bursting, draw the decor of your choice.
The galette is ready to be baked in the oven, at 180°C for about 30 minutes.
The tip to make the galette shinier:
Take it out of the oven when it is baked. Coat it with light syrup (boil 50g water and 50g sugar) and put it back in the oven for 1 minute.
Serve and enjoy.