Monday, 3 January 2011

New Year Baking for 6 January (Le Jour des Rois)

Galette de pommes
I love celebrating New Year with a Galette de pommes. It reminds me when I lived in France and worked in a school in St Quentin. We had a staff reception to celebrate ‘Le Jour des Rois’ (the Day of the Kings) on 6 January and tasted the famous ‘Galette des Rois’

The tradition is that a ‘feve’, a dried bean or a porcelain figure, is hidden in the ‘Galette’ and whoever finds it becomes King or Queen for the day and wears a golden paper crown. The ‘Galette des Rois’ is usually made with puff pastry with a layer of almond paste or frangipane. The head teacher served us all with a glass of champagne. I had taken some of Grandma’s Christmas Cake and Monsieur le Proviseur said it was the best cake he had ever tasted.

My landlady's friend, Madame Blanchard made an apple version : 

Galette de Pommes. 
Pastry
150g plain flour 
100g butter  (cut into small pieces)
1 tsp sugar 
4 tbsps water 
Filling
apples
25g unsalted butter melted
100g caster sugar 
Topping
50g caster sugar 
1-2 tbsp Calvados 

 Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl with the butter butter. Add the water and bring together. Wrap the dough in clingfilm, and let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and let it soften while making the filling. Peel, core and slice the apples.  Roll the pastry out into a large circle to fit the dish. Place the pastry in the dish. Arrange the apples so that they overlap. Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C/Mark 6/400F. Remove the Galette from the fridge and brush the pastry edge with the melted butter. Sprinkle the apples with the caster sugar and Calvados. Place the Galette in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until golden. Serve hot or cold with cream or ice cream. 

Meryl’s tips : I follow the pastry recipe which is like Grandma’s shortcrust pastry but include 25g of ground almonds. I use Coxes apples but don’t add any sugar since we don’t like things too sweet. I also sieve some icing sugar and caramelise it under the grill once the Galette is out of the oven rather than the caster sugar. See for yourself, it's very tasty.
It’s been a hectic week baking for family and friends  but I read Nigel Slater's book 'Toast' and remembered the same sort of delectable apple and lemon meringue pies just like Grandma used to make. 

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