Queen Mel loses her crown

I know this is a little delayed, but Happy New Year!!  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and an excellent New Years!  I had a wonderful time in France – we spent Christmas with my mum’s family and then I went up to Paris to see a friend for New Years.  So far 2012 seems to be going by just as quickly as 2011 – we’re already a week in!  How did that happen?  Yesterday was the 6th of January, which means that Christmas is now well and truly over, but it also means that nearly all of France tucked into a galette des rois to celebrate the Epiphany.  Nearly all of France, and probably quite a lot of the French expats scattered across the world, too.  My mum and I were no different.

There are countless different types of galette des rois, but probably the most well-known is the frangipane version, which is the one I made last year to introduce Kat and Craig to the tradition.  I happened to get the slice with the little porcelain fève or figurine and was crowned Queen Mel (I promise it wasn’t rigged – as the youngest, Craig allocated the slices, so I had nothing to do with it!).  Tradition dictates that the King/Queen is supposed to provide the galette des rois the following year so of course I made a galette this year, although I’d have made one anyway.  Since we were in France in the run-up to the Epiphany I wanted to find a fun fève to use in the galette (the one I have at the moment is a nondescript nativity figure, probably Joseph, which is a little boring considering the amazing diversity of fèves out there).  We had a look when we were shopping in Besançon and… found nothing.  So we asked one of my mum’s friends who knows where to find everything cooking-related and, well you know the little Ferrero-Rocher plastic boxes?  She pulled out one of those full of an assortment of fun fèves.  I know you think I’m exaggerating, so here’s some proof:

Impressive isn’t it?  She very kindly let me pick a few to take back with me, which totally solved the fun fève issue because I am now in possession of quite possibly the most amazing fève in the history of the world.  No really.  You’re dying to know, right?  (The correct answer is yes by the way.)  Ok.  Wait for it…

Considering the name of my blog, I highly doubt that there could be a fève more perfect for me, wouldn’t you agree?  I totally love it (in case you hadn’t guessed)!  Now it’s all very well having a brilliant fève, but you need a galette to bake it in.

This year, I decided to make a version from Franche-Comté, the region that I’m from.  It’s incredibly simple to make and uses a pastry called “goumeau” (which despite my best efforts, I cannot find a translation for), which is made in a similar way to choux pastry, but comes out denser.  That said, it doesn’t feel super heavy when eaten.  You may have guessed from the title that I didn’t get the fève this year – my mum did – but since you can do galettes des rois for the whole of January, perhaps I’ll win the crown back (you know, with the countless galettes des rois that we have access to here…).

Galette des rois Franc-Comtoise

Serves 6-8
From one of my mum’s friends

This galette Franc-Comtoise is also called “tarte au goumeau” and isn’t restricted to the Epiphany – it just doesn’t have the little porcelain fève in it the rest of the year.  When doing an internship in South Africa a few years ago my fellow interns requested that I make these galettes Franc-Comtoises several times a week (without the fève) to take out on the boats, because they travel really well (just slice them and wrap them in foil) and make excellent snacks.  Despite the limited cooking equipment and complete lack of scales or measuring cups, they still came out perfectly every time, so they really are super easy to make and the ingredients don’t have to be super precise!  They’re also pretty quick to make and use ingredients that are generally readily available, except perhaps orange blossom water, but this can be substituted with orange, lemon or vanilla extract.

Ingredients

250ml milk
80g butter
3 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp orange blossom water (or 2 tbsp orange, lemon or vanilla extract)
Pinch of salt
125g all-purpose flour
4 eggs
A porcelain fève (optional)

Directions

1.  Butter a 30cm cake tin.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2.  Add the milk, butter, sugar, orange blossom water and salt to a large saucepan and bring to the boil on a low heat.  Immediately add all of the flour and stir until the mixture comes together into a ball which detaches from the saucepan (I usually use a spatula as it’s easier to get all of the mixture out of the saucepan later on).

3.  Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the eggs one at a time (the mixture will turn into a bit of a gloopy mess each time you add an egg, but it will come together).

4.  Transfer the mixture into the cake tin and evenly spread it right to the edges.  If using a fève, insert it into the mixture, and smooth the mixture over it so that it isn’t visible (add it near the outer edge to minimise the likelihood of slicing the galette over the fève).  Draw a pattern over the top with the prongs of a fork.

5.  Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden (the galette will puff up a lot in the middle, but this will fall when removed from the oven).  Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

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2 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

2 responses to “Queen Mel loses her crown

  1. I saw galette des rois advertised in a French cafe in Singapore yesterday, but I had no idea what it was or that it was specific to January (I was just a bit baffled by the paper gold crown decorating the ad!). So thanks for this wonderful post. And, as luck would have it, I have a Frenchman coming over for dinner tonight so I think I MUST give it a try… but where to find a crown at short notice? I think I might have to call on the artistic efforts of my in-house four-year-old…

    • Mel

      I don’t blame you for being baffled – galettes des rois do look rather random if you don’t know what they are! I love that there was a French café doing them though. Did you give the galette a go? And home-made crowns are the best, fact – it totally just adds that special touch.

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