The patisseries in Paris are full of these at this time of year.  It’s as if France can’t quite bear to leave behind the excess of Christmas, and has to sneak in there with one last buttery, nutty treat before getting down to the grim business of January.  Highly necessary, I’d say.  It’s a pastry made for 12th night, the 6th January, the night when the three wise men finally made it to see the baby Jesus and give their lovely, very age appropriate, gifts of frankincense, gold and myrhh.  And it’s the day when you have to take your Christmas tree down or risk bad luck for the rest of the year.  All in all a sad day.  Make this ridiculously rich almond pastry to cheer yourself up, especially if, like me, you’ve had a day of fruitless job hunting.

Tradition has it that you put in a bean or a fève, and the person who wins it gets to be King for the day.  I only had tinned beans and no china fève, so I used a whole almond.

Galette des rois (based on Chocolate and Zucchini)

I’m afraid I bought the puff pastry.  I know, disgraceful isn’t it?  Let’s just say puff pastry is on my Blog Wellington to do list.  Make sure you get all butter puff though, it’s much nicer.

For the galette
500 g puff pastry
125g caster sugar
130 g ground almonds
pinch of salt
2 eggs
almond extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other liquor
1 whole almond/other fève

For the eggwash
1 egg yolk
milk/water to mix

Cream up the butter with a hand held whisk.  Combine the sugar, almonds and salt and run your fingers through the mixture to get rid of any lumps, then add to the butter.  Add the booze and the almond extract, then the eggs, whisking thoroughly by hand after each addition.  Put in the fridge for an hour.
Meanwhile, roll out the pastry into two plate shaped circles, one bigger than the other.  Put the smaller circle on a sheet of baking paper.  Dollop the almond mixture onto the smaller of the two circles.  Mix the egg yolk and milk or water together until smooth, then brush the egg yolk around the outer edge of the puff sheet, trying not to get the edges wet, as this stops it rising.  Do it in a wide border, about two inches wide.  You’ll need it again in a minute so don’t use it all.  Don’t forget the fève!

Put the bigger piece of pastry ontop of the smaller, pressing out the air bubbles around the almond mound, and around the edges, to seal.  Then if you want you can scour decorative lines in the cake, in the proper French way.  Using the rest of the eggwash cover the top of the galette all over, again avoiding the edges.  Poke five holes in the galette in the top, to let the air out.

Put in the fridge for an hour (less will do if you’re running short on time).  Preheat the oven to gas 5/180 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes.  As an optional extra, you can brush the top with an icing sugar/hot water mix, just before it comes out of the oven, which makes it shiny, but I skipped this and no-one noticed.  Leave it to cool if you can keep greedy hands off it, and serve at room temperature.