Blog Checking Lines: For the month of December, Kat challenged us to make Gateaux Pithiviers.
Gateaux Pithiviers, also called Galette des Rois or King’s Cakes, are elegant-looking desserts that have been on my baking bucket list for a long time. Gateaux Pithiviers are a cake-sized puff pastry round filled with a delicious almond paste mixture called Frangipane.
Gateaux Pithivers are traditionally served at Lent, though we enjoyed having it for Christmas. I guess we will all be experts by the time Lent rolls around! It’s a pretty simple dessert to make if you purchase your own puff pastry, but even if you make your own puff pastry as we did, it’s not much harder to do. It was a little tricky to pull off such a fancy dessert in the midst of holiday baking, but at least each of the steps can be done separately and chilled to spread the work out.
The most time consuming step is making the puff pastry from scratch. Fortunately, the recipe made a big enough batch that I have extras in the freezer for a future use. The dough comes together quickly in the food processor and then is folded around a block of butter. The dough-enclosed butter block is rolled out and folded on itself a total of 6 times, forming lots of layers that will puff and become flaky when baked. It’s magical! Two rounds are cut from the puff pastry. A filling of almond meal, sugar, eggs and rum or Armagnac is shaped into a disk and placed between the pastry layers and sealed with the scalloped edge. A brushing of egg wash to make it dark and shiny in the oven and some decorative cuts in the top and it’s ready to bake. The finished pastry is cooled to room temperature before eating and keeps for several days. It’s delicious!
The full recipe and process for making puff pastry can be found on the Daring Bakers’ site where there are nice step-by-step instructions with pictures. Purchased puff pastry may also be used.
- For the Frangipane:
- 1½ cups/ 100g blanched almonds (or 100g almond meal plus extra if needed to thicken)
- ⅓ - ½ cup (65-100g) granulated sugar, depending on your sweetness preference
- 4 Tbsp. (55g) butter
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. almond extract
- zest from 1 lemon or ½ an orange or 2 tangerines
- 2 Tbsp. Armangac or Rum.
- For the Gateaux Pithiviers:
- 1 lb (45g) puff pastry
- 1 batch of frangipane
- 1 large egg
- To make the frangipane, grind the almonds (if using whole blanched almonds). Mix the ground almonds with the remaining ingredients. If necessary, add a little more almond meal to thicken to that the paste can be shaped into a 6" disc. It will be fairly loose. Chill at least 30 minutes.
- Beat the egg well to make an egg wash.
- Divide the puff pastry in half and keep one in the refrigerator while working with the other.
- Roll the dough out ion a lightly floured surface and cut out an 8" circle of puff pastry. Carefully move the pastry to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush a ring of egg-wash around the edge of the pastry, do not allow the egg to go voer the sides as this will prevent rise.
- Center the disk of frangipane on the pastry and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator.
- Roll the second half of the puff pastry out and cut out another 8" circle.
- Take the filled half out of the refrigerator. Place the second 8" round on top of the first one. Quickly use your fingers to press the two layers together without warming the pastry or allowing the filling to squeeze out.
- Press two fingers of one hand into the pastry and use the back of a small knife to push an indent in between your fingers to form a scalloped edge.
- Brush the entire top with egg wash, once again being careful not to go over the edges.
- Starting in the middle of the pastry, draw long sweeping cures out to the edges with a sharp knife.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
- Bake the Pithiviers for 10 minutes at 425F/220C, and then reduce the heat to 350F/175C and bake for another 20 minutes. The top should be a dark bronze color. If necessary, bake slightly longer to achieve good color.
- Allow the Gateaux Pithiviers to cool completely before serving.