Galette des Rois aux Amandes (Three Kings Almond Tart)

Recipe courtesy Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright
Show: Two Fat Ladies Episode: Cakes and Baking
TOTAL TIME: 4 hr 25 min
Prep: 1 hr
Inactive Prep: 2 hr 45 min
Cook: 40 min
YIELD: 8 to 10 servings
LEVEL: Difficult

ingredients

FOR THE PASTRY:
  • 9 ounces flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/4 pint (1/2 cup) chilled water
  • Icing (confectioners') sugar
    FOR THE FILLING:
    • 4 ounces unsalted butter
    • 4 ounces caster (superfine) sugar
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 4 drops almond essence
    • 3 tablespoons kirsch
    • 4 ounces freshly ground almonds
    • 1 dried bean, gold ring or baby figurine
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    Directions

    For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut in 3 ounces of butter with a sharp knife, a pastry blender, or by hand 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 1/4-inch thickness. Dot it with one-third of the remaining 4 ounces butter cut into dice. Fold the pastry into three, like a letter, then again into three in the opposite direction. 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 1 pound of puff pastry instead.

    Divide the pastry in half. Roll each half into a round of about 9-inches in diameter and let rest while you make the filling.

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

    Rinse a sheet pan under cold water. Place one of the pastry rounds on the tray and spoon the paste onto it, leaving a 2-inch margin all around. 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 edges together. Chill 45 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 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 to 40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and brown. Transfer to a rack and cool. Dust with icing sugar.

    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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