Archive for January, 2009

Happy Birthday!

January 6, 2009
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Happy new year, gentle readers I know it’s been awfully quiet here in the past little while and I know you are all tired of hearing my lame excuses (but, I’ve moved houses, with three kids and also I’m tired and I work full-time and did I mention the three kids?) and sorry offers of I-O-U’s(uhm, a recipe? for christmas? Who was I kidding really?).
So this is why today, despite of the cold weather and all the other lame excuses (tired – check, three kids – check, cold – check) I am making a special effort to not be lame and not complain because today, you see, is my grandmother’s birthday and the 1st anniversary of this little blog.

And to celebrate my grandmothers birthday, the one year of my blog and the return of my eldest who spent 10 days in France with his grandparents (must.not.complain.about.how.hard.that.was.), I went and whipped up a batch of puff pastry / pâte feuilletée over the weekend, while following the fabulous tutorial by the lovely Ashley over at Artisan Sweets, complete with a supercool video.
I had it in mind to make a galettes des rois, the traditional french desserts eaten on the 6th of January, the day of the Epiphany, which is the day the three kings (les rois mages, one of which my son is named after) came to pay their dues to the child born a few weeks earlier. I was also hoping that posting a proper recipe would induce an epiphany of my own, bloggingwise, but that remains to be seen.

This particular traditional dessert (Us French seem to have a traditional dessert for pretty much any occasion, or is it just me?) is a puff pastry ‘pie’, as my husband would say, he who calls everything a pie, that is filled with a buttery almond cream in which you hide a porcelain token. The person who gets the token is named the queen or king of the night. The slices are given out at random by the youngest child who sits under the table and tells whoever is serving the cake whom to give each slice to. Our son had a ball sitting under the table and was slightly disappointed that the token didn’t appear until his father and I had eaten our way into the second round.

We had made just enough for a small galette for the three of us and it’s only after I ate the greater part of it that I realised that today marks one year of 13desserts. It’s been a great year for me and I really enjoy posting here (despite evidence to the contrary in the past months!) as well as being more than a mere spectator on the other blogs I read. Comments always make me happy, so don’t feel shy, tell me what you think! Here’s to my grandmother’s health and another year of this!

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Galette des Rois

Adapted from ELLE à table

prep time: 45min, rising time: 2h total, baking time 25 min
mixing bowl, dough hooks, rolling pin, parchment paper

for the pâte feuilletée

390 g flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
90 g unsalted butter, cold
210 ml cold water
300 g unsalted butter, softened

for the filling

60 g softened butter
60 g of confectioners sugar
60 g blanched, ground almond (you could substitute pistachios or hazelnuts if you realy wanted)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

I wouldn’t really like to paraphrase Ashleys tutorial, so please go check out the post and the video on how to make puff pastry. I made mine up to the last turn, divided it into three equal parts, wrapped those tightly in clingfoil and stuck them in the freezer. One of these parts (each weight about 300 g) was enough to make a galette for 4 -6 people.

When your puff pastry is done and waiting for you to use it, preheat your oven to 190° and make the filling.

In a mxing bowl (or, say, your brand new kitchenaid fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter, almonds and sugar.
Whisk the eggs together. Reserve a generous tablespoon of the eggmix to brush onto the galette and incorporate the rest to the butter-almond cream.

Roll out your dough into two circles of equal size. Spread the almond cream onto one, leaving a 1 cm edge. Brush this edge with water, place the token (you can use an almond or a button instead of the porcelain figurine) inside and cover with the second dough-circle. Press down and slightly crimp the edges to seal. Poke a little hole in the top to allow the steam to escape and make pretty patterns with your knife to decorate ( I obviously skipped the part about the patterns having to be pretty). Brush with the reserved tablespoon of eggwash.

Bake until golden, for about 20 min, serve warm or cold.

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