So we made it to 2013. It wasn’t the end of the world after all, right? I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and took the time to chill out, relishing in the festive atmosphere and savouring precious moments.
Just as you thought I was deserting you all, I surprised even myself with such a long computer break – even forgetting my password – and instead became an elf. I ‘desserted‘ the kitchen. Big time.
Although I’m sorry to say I didn’t take many photos. I don’t know how so many wonderful, serious blogger friends do it but as I’m not serious, here are just a few snaps to prove I’ve been testing some sweet recipes for you.
Ice creams, pastries, meringues, macarons (well you expect it here, don’t you?), brioches, éclairs – all accompanied by good friends and bubbles. Now that’s what I call the sweet life. N’est-ce pas: a meringue or am I right?
What I love about living here is that the French still have a knack of cheering you up, even as the Christmas decorations come down at Epiphany. Suddenly the Pâtisserie shop windows are decked out in Galettes des rois (King Cake.) Being a cheap-skate (or rather, obsessed home cook), I make mine at home. That way I can greedily add more creamy almond paste filling inside the puff pastry and use fancy trinkets. Being a lazy gourmet, I use store-bought puff pastry (always choose pur beurre, the full butter version, which is better quality than plain puff.)
Galette des Rois Recipe
Preparation Time : 20 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
150g softened butter
150g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp dark rum (or Amaretto)*
1 tsp almond extract
2 puff pastry circles (ready-made)
1 egg yolk
1 fève or trinket
1 crown (i.e. paper; don’t go sneeking into the Tower of London, ok?)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. For the almond cream, cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl then gradually add all the other ingredients and mix together well to form a smooth cream.
- Place the first pastry circle on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Spread the almond mix evenly on top, leaving a space of 2-3 cm as a border. Insert the porcelaine trinket well into the almond cream (if you’re not sure of the quality of the trinket, I suggest you add it at the end by pushing it up into the bottom of the pastry.)
- Place the second puff pastry circle on top.
- Seal the outside edges, making indents on the border and then criss-cross patterns using the blunt end of a knife. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg yolk, taking care not to cover the edges (otherwise the pastry won’t rise properly – that was my problem here! Next time I’ll be far more careful.) Pierce 4 or 5 little holes in the pastry, so that air can escape.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Serve warm with Cider.
* For those that don’t want to add alcohol, you could replace the rum or Amaretto with milk and a dash of orange flower water.
As usual in our house, Lucie – being the youngest – traditionally sits under the table and chooses who gets each slice, so there’s no favouritism in dishing out the prized portion with the fève/trinket to become crowned King or Queen. Just as well for tradition: at least I can be rest assured there’s no longer need to crouch and creek the knees below – even amongst the adult table; I married a Toy Boy. Ha! Say no more.
Well yes. There is more; much more in store for you this year on le blog. I just need to put it all together, remember the blooming passwords and get that brain gack in bear!
Happy New Year to you all and wishing you the best of health and happiness, my friends.