CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT GALETTE DES ROIS

The season of the galette des rois begins on Twelfth Night, the 6th of January, to mark the feast of the Epiphany, which is when the three kings turned up to give gifts to Baby Jesus (allegedly).

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Traditionally in France, this dessert is only served once a year, so every kid in France is waiting for the 6th of January to roll around! One of the most popular galette is filled with frangipane, a cream made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs and sugar. It is said to have been invented by a Florentine nobleman, the Marquis of Frangipani, several centuries ago.

In the past, the pastry would be cut into as many portions as there were guests, plus one. The last one, called the “part du pauvre” or poor man’s share, was for the first poor person who stopped by the house.

It is a fantastic dessert with a cool tradition to hide two little figurines in the almond cream. The ones who find them will become the King and Queen for the day and of course have all of their wishes realised. And who doesn’t want to be a King or Queen for a day!

I have mixed thing up a little by making a hazelnut frangipane cream and mixing that with a chocolate crème pâtissière. Giving this galette de rois a deeper, richer flavour that is fit for royalty!

So don your crowns! It’s time to take on pastry royalty and make our Hazelnut & Chocolate Galette Des Rois!

— Al Brady

PUFF PASTRY

Puff pastry is basically magic! IT starts off looking like a regular plain old pastry, that is until it goes into the oven. There it transforms into a tower of thousands of crispy, buttery shards of flaky pastry. It does all this without the aid of any help from raising agents such as yeast, bicarbonate of soda or baking powder.

So what is it that makes this pastry rise? Voodoo? Witchcraft? A Strong Belief?

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Actually as awesome as that would be the real secret is steam creating hundreds of paper thin layers of dough and butter in a process called lamination. That is where the real magic takes place, it’s all in the technique of creating those glorious layers.

By making a dough (détrempe) and rolling and folding with butter over and over again until all the layers are formed. These layers are often so thin they aren’t even visible but once baked, the butter melts and the water in those layers turns to steam; puffing up each thing layer of dough, eventually evaporating and leaving behind those crisp, buttery, flaky layers.

Making puff pastry might seem like quite a commitment, but don’t be intimidated by the amount of time you have to invest in it. Most of that time is actually resting the dough between rolls so it’s not as labour intensive as you might think. While you’re creating your layers it will demand your full attention but while it is resting in the fridge you’ll get a rest at the same time.

So even though the allure of shop-bought puff pastry may seem to much to resist when you need a quick pastry fix. Making your own puff pastry can be extremely satisfying and will always surpass any shop bought pastry, in term of it’s flakiness, butteriness and also in flavour.

My puff pastry recipe differs slightly by using salted butter giving a far more flavourful and satisfying pastry, and once you have completed all the rolls and folds you will have 6561 delicious buttery layers to work with. So grab your rolling pin and get ready to reach a kitchen milestone, making your very own puff pastry.

— Al Brady