A traditional New Year cake that you see all over France is the Galette des Rois or Kings’ Cake. It takes its name from the biblical story of Epiphany, celebrated on 6 January when the three kings were said to have visited the infant Jesus. From Christmas onwards you’ll see these round cakes for sale in supermarkets and boulangeries all over France, some packaging even including a gold cardboard crown. There’s a tradition in France that the cake contains a tiny ‘féve’ (bean) and whoever gets the féve in their slice is king for the day, and gets to wear the crown. These days the féve is likely to be a plastic or porcelain figurine, often a cartoon character. I suppose it is bit like the traditional sixpence in the Christmas Pudding. I’ve always been wary about someone breaking their teeth or worse, choking, so féves won’t feature in my vegan Galette de rois recipe.
The basis of the traditional Galette de Rois recipe is a puff pastry tart filled with a frangipane stuffing. There are many regional variations, but this recipe is based on the version served in the west of France, based on a sweet crust pastry tortue with a puff pastry top. You can use your own pastry to make both the base and lid, but I prefer to just make the base and use shop-bought puff pastry for the lid. It is always easier to use pâte feuillette rather than making your own. The almond frangipane is based on the Bakewell Tart recipe featured in the downloadable PDF Baking guide. Although usually served at Epiphany you can make a vegan Galette de Rois at any time of the year.
Galette de Rois
- One pack of vegan puff pastry Pâte feuillette
- 210g T55 flour
- 100g vegan spread
- 15g sucre glace
- 2 tbsp chilled water
- 150g vegetable oil (grams – weigh in bowl)
- 150g white sugar
- 150g ground almonds
- 100g T55 flour
- 1 sachet levure chimique
- 100ml soy milk
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp almond essence
First, make the pastry base by rubbing in the vegan spread to the flour. You can also do this in a food processor. When the rubbed-in mix resembles a breadcrumb texture add the sugar and mix well. Then add enough ice cold water to achieve a dough. The quantity will depend on the amount of water in the brand of vegan spread you use. Then chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. After this, remove from fridge and roll out into a circle. Use the pastry to line a shallow round greased pie dish and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Next, make the frangipane. Add the cider vinegar to the soy milk and set aside to curdle. Weigh the oil into large bowl. This may seem a little odd, but it works. Then add the sugar, ground almonds, flour and levure chimique, mixing well each time. Add the milk, which should have curdled and become lumpy and the almond essence. Mix well to a thick batter.
Remove the shop-bought puff pastry from the fridge, unwrap and unroll. Spread the frangipane over the base making sure all covered. At this stage you can add your féve, if using one, or a dried bean! Then roll over the puff pastry lid, seal the edges and crimp into a nice fluted edge and pattern the top if you wish.
Bake at about 190c for about 30–35 minutes, cover top with foil if the puff pastry starts to burn, but you want a nice golden brown. Check the frangipane filling is cooked through with a metal skewer. Cool in the tin.