It’s true that Twelfth Night refers to the 12th day of Christmas, which (counting from 25. December) means the 5th of January, and today is the 7th… but close enough. In two day’s time, there will be a Mathematician’s potluck at a friend’s house, so here is the opportunity to make a galette des rois, or the cake of the kings — presumably the three kings or Magi who showed up after the birth of Jesus. (This always reminds me of the Gray Jolliffe cartoon: one of the Magi is at the check-in desk saying, “Don’t you know who that is?! That’s Mr. and Mrs. Christ and their son the Messiah! Five martinis on the house is how you say you’re sorry!”)
At any rate, the galette des rois is served on Epiphany (6. January) in France and other Catholic countries: it’s usually made with puff pastry stuffed with grounds almonds and eggs. It generally contains a bean or token, and whomever finds that in their portion is king or queen for the day. I omit that part out of respect for everyone’s teeth, but you can easily put it in before baking. Here’s a simple galette recipe that brings midwinter joy to my guests — or, in this case, the local mathematicians!
Twelfth Night Galette
This recipe is vegetarian, and even vegan if you use almond milk instead of the eggs. The prep time is 20 minutes followed by 40 minutes in the oven; this recipe serves 8-10. I usually make it up an hour or so before dinner, and pop it in the oven as we sit down. That way it’s still warm by the time we get to tea or coffee after the meal.
8 oz puff pastry (I use good quality frozen pastry, which usually comes in two squares)
One 10 oz tin almond paste (or hazelnut, or pistachio, or whatever nut paste you fancy)
OR 10 oz marzipan (available from most supermarkets and also from Ikea)
1-2 Tbsp sugar or other sweetening, if desired or required for the almond paste; if you’re using marzipan, that will be quite sweet enough
2 large eggs, divided
Optional: a dozen or so sour cherries (available in oval bottles from Trader Joe’s)
You’ll need a pastry brush for the egg wash.
1. Thaw the frozen pastry; I put mine in the fridge the day before so it can thaw slowly.
2. Place the almond paste, one egg, and the second egg white in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Beat together until smooth; add 1-2 Tbsp sugar if needed.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F; line a baking tray with parchment.
4. Roll out one pastry piece to 10” or 11” square and transfer to the baking sheet – the easiest way being to roll the pastry on to the rolling pin and then unroll it on to the baking sheet. Moisten 1” round all four sides.
5. Spoon the almond filling onto the pastry, and spread it evenly, keeping inside the 1” margin. Optionally, sprinkle the almond filling lightly with sour cherries.
6. Roll out the second piece of pastry to the same size, and gently place on the filled sheet, matching up the edges. Use a fork to press down all four sides and seal the almond inside. Beat the second egg yolk and brush over the top of the galette.
7. Slide the prepared galette on its baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until puffed and golden.
8. Allow the galette to cool for ten minutes or so, and cut into wedges or slices.
9. Optionally, whip heavy cream with 2 Tbsp sugar and ½ tsp almond essence, and hand round separately as a garnish.
As always, HERE is the printer-friendly version.