I’m going to commit a blogging sin and reuse my header from last year. Hold onto your teeth! It’s galette de rois season! Even amongst the resolutions to drink soy milk and take tai chi, the galette de rois is the official mascot of the month of January in France, in celebration of epiphany. Every event, birthday party or gouter revolves around the puff pastry confection, enveloping a rich layer of dense almond cream and a lucky porcelain charm. Whoever bites into the charm is crowned king or queen for the day. As I like to say, the object is to win the crown and not get a crown, if you know what I mean.
I don’t condone comfort eating, but lately it’s been the only way to remedy the frightening events of the past few weeks in Paris. I’ve reverted to cooking in times of crisis. Concentrating on a few ingredients at hand takes my mind off the fear and back into the present. My galette de rois was no exception.
With an almond objection in our home (hello husband!), I swapped out the traditional filling with a homemade apple compote, warmed through with cinnamon and a splash of brandy. I didn’t have a porcelain charm hanging around my kitchen. My two options were either inserting a 5 centime coin or an almond. I took a risk and added the latter. Sure enough, there was no crowned king or queen this year. Someone ate the almond and didn’t complain. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me.
Galette de rois aux pommes
2 sheets all-butter puff pastry
2 cups apple compote, preferably homemade
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using the side of the knife. Discard the pod. Mix together the compote, vanilla seeds, brown sugar, brandy and cinnamon until fully combined.
2. Roll out 1 puff pastry on a cookie sheet. Spread the compote mixture in the center of the puff pastry, creating a 2-inch border without compote around the circumference. If using a charm, press it into the compote. Brush the circumference of the pastry with the beaten egg. Cover the compote with the second puff pastry. Press the edges to fully enclose the filling. Using a paring knife, lightly score the top of the pastry with a geometric pattern and make several holes to help the steam escape while cooking. Brush the top with the remaining egg. Sprinkle with cane sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pastry feels crisp to the touch. Cool before serving.