Galette des Rois Aux Amandes

The Three Kings Almond Tart

This cake is eaten on the feast of the Epiphany, the twelfth night after Christmas when the three kings arrived with their gifts for the Christ Child. A bean or a gold ring or even a tiny image of the Child is hidden in the cake and the top is surmounted with a golden cardboard crown. When the cake is eaten, the person who finds the object is crowned King of the Feast for the evening’s festivities.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 250 g/9 oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200 g/7 oz unsalted butter
  • 150 ml/¼ pint chilled water (approx.)
  • icing sugar

For the Filling

  • 115 g/4 oz unsalted butter
  • 115 g/4 oz caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 drops of real almond essence (not flavouring)
  • 3 tbsp kirsch or the like
  • 115 g/4 oz freshly ground almonds
  • 1 dried bean, gold ring or tiny baby figurine

Method

For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut in 85 g/3 oz of the butter with a sharp knife until the mixture resembles crumbs. Mix in enough water to make a non-sticky dough. Knead gently, cover and leave for 20 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board to about 5 mm/¼ in thickness. Dot it with one-third of the remaining butter cut into dice. Fold the pastry into three like a letter, then again into three in the opposite direction like a napkin. Cover in a cloth and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat this process twice more and leave for another 20 minutes’ chilling before using. If you can’t face all that fun, buy a 450 g/1 lb packet of puff pastry instead.

Divide the pastry in half. Roll each half into a round of about 23cm/9in diameter. Let them rest while you make the filling.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk in 2 of the egg yolks, the almond essence, kirsch and the ground almonds. Work together until you have a smooth paste.

Rinse a baking tray under cold water. Place one of the pastry rounds on the tray and spoon the paste on to it, leaving a 5 cm/2 in margin all round. Hide the bean or the other objects in the paste. Beat the remaining egg with a little water and paint the pastry margin. Place the second round of pastry on top and gently press the edges together. Chill for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Using a sharp knife make a lattice or star-shaped pattern on the pastry surface, but do not cut through to the filling. Pinch the edges prettily together. Paint the top with the egg wash. Bake the galette for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and brown. Transfer to a rack and cool. Dust with icing sugar and grill for a minute if you like.

When cool, serve with a gold crown on top (made with your own fair hands) and a glass of kirsch or some pudding wine. Eat and discover who will be King of the Feast, then crown them.

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