The beginning of the year starts with Kings Cake in France: on the 6th of January, we usually celebrate the Epiphany with a "Galette des Rois". I have been in Dubai for 4 years now and I can't remember celebrating it ever, which is weird because Paul sells very nice Galettes, I just never got the occasion. So when my sister told me she made one in Beirut, I figured I should be able to manage too!
According to the tradition, there is a favour hidden in each Kings Cake, and the idea is that the person who finds it in his/her slice becomes king/queen. No special treatment here, but you get to choose your queen/king for the day (if only it was that easy in real life), and children usually love running around the house with a crown! Obviously the way you distribute the slices is strategic, so in order to avoid all cheating, you send the youngest of the crowd under the table, and he/she gets to decide which slice goes to whom.
The main reason why I had never made a Kings Cake before is the filling: "frangipane" is a sort of marzipan which always seemed difficult to make (hello lack of self confidence!). Turns out is a simple mix of butter, eggs, grounded almond, sugar and vanilla; you just can't get it wrong. So this is what it looks like, and for the record, there were no leftovers!
And so here is the recipe: you will need 2 puff pastries, 3 eggs, 60g of butter, 200g of grounded almond, 125g of sugar, a hint of vanilla, a tablespoon of cold water, and a favour (if you cannot find a typical Galette ceramic favour, just wrap an almond in foil paper, that will do the trick).
Start by preheating and setting your oven on 180 celsius degrees.
Spread some butter in your baking tin.
Then lay your first puff pastry in the tin, and prick it with fork, and set it aside.
Prepare your filling -"frangipane"- by simply mixing 2 eggs, the melted butter, the grounded almond, the sugar, and the vanilla.
Spread the "frangipane" on the puff pastry, starting from the centre, and leaving a 5cm empty strip all around so you can close the pie. Put the favour on the "frangipane" and lay the second puff pastry over the pastry. Use a fork to close the pie by squeezing the 2 pastries all around the tin.
Use a knife to design drawings on the top of the pie.
Mix the yolk of the last egg with a tablespoon of cold water, brush the mix generously over the pie.
Put in the oven for 45min.