Traditionally, in France, a 'Galette des Rois', otherwise known as a 'king cake', is served for the Epiphany. As history will tell it, the twelfth night following the birth of baby Jesus marks the arrival of the three kings to Bethlehem, and therefore, the day the Galette des Rois debuts. If you have done your math correctly, this translates to the sixth day of January. It is at this time that every pastry shop and boulangerie throughout all of France will display this decadent treat in their windows and on their countertops.
There are two types of galettes made for the occasion, depending upon the region you inhabit. If residing in the northern region of France, your galette is likely made of pâte feuilleté, or a flaky puff pastry, filled with frangipane, a creamy almond paste. Placed inside before baking it is a 'feve', or a trinket. In the south of France, you will find the galette to be a brioche-style cake with marzipan, filled with candied fruits. Either way, whoever is served a slice of the galette with the feve inside, is declared King or Queen for the day. Traditionally, the Galette des Rois will come with a gilded paper crown, ensuring no one forgets who discovered the feve in their slice.
Feves come in all forms, traditionally nothing more than a simple bean. We have collected many sets of feves throughout the years, including ones that depict characters in the Bible, as well as those that are characteristic of other French pastries and brioches. Cartoon characters have become popular, and some of the higher-end bakeries showcase feves that change annually, making them fun collectible keepsakes. Due to the popularity of this treat there is a demand for the galettes all month long.
Seeing we only prepared our Bûche de Noël for New Year's Day this year, we prepared our Galette des Rois for the second weekend in January. Without a doubt, we were dunking leftover pieces of the cake into our coffee all week long. You also might have guessed that we made two versions of the cake in our household. One was made with pâte feuilleté and frangipane, and the other was prepared with a gluten-free crust. We made six total galettes and then boxed them for friends. Of course, each box came complete with a feve inside, as well as a crown, and a handwritten note for the new year.
Today, the version we are going to teach you is the gluten-free one. Since we can not make the traditional 'puff pastry' with a gluten-free flour blend, we are going to teach you how to make a 'tourte', or a pie. The trick to this crust is to create flakes by not incorporating the butter all the way through.
Galette des Rois
2 C Gluten-Free Flour (We like the 'Red Mill' and 'Cup for Cup' brands)
1 1/2 Sticks of Cold Unsalted Butter
1/2 C Powdered Sugar
Corn Starch for Dusting
1/2 C Water
Pinch of Salt
To prepare the crust:
Cut the cold butter into small cubes.
Now, dust the cubes lightly with corn starch so that they are fully coated; be cautious not to overdo it. *This will prevent the butter from sticking to one another as it softens.
Place the butter aside until it becomes softened.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Add the egg and the water.
You may incorporate the ingredients into a dough with either your hands or a kitchen aid electric mixer. Mix until the dough is fully formed.
Next, add the butter and mix it until it is evenly incorporated, but so that you can still see 'pieces' or 'chunks' of the butter. We are not 'creaming' the butter into the dough. The result will imitate the 'flakiness' of a puff pastry dough.
Now, wrap the dough into plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
To make the almond cream:
Frangipane (the filling)
1 1/4 C Almond Flour
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
1/2 C Sugar
A 'Feve' or Bean
As we did already for the crust, cut the cold butter into cubes and place aside until softened.
With an electric mixer, add the almond flour, sugar, and soft butter.
Mix until fully combined.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.
Cover and reserve aside in the fridge.
Now it is time to build the 'tourte':