I have yet to be in France in early January. That’s the time you see these delicious gallettes topped with a gold paper crown in the windows of patisseries. They are generally served on Twelfth Night. But no one would complain if you served one a week or so after to continue celebrating the New Year.
The other tradition is that the baker hides a fevé (as it was often a fava bean) in the pastry. It can also be a small porcelain figurine or nut of some sort like a whole almond or hazelnut. Do I need to add a warning: “Do not Choke”? Whoever gets the fevé in their slice is crowned king or queen for the day.
With the traditions known, the most important element when working with puff pastry is keeping the dough cold which means working quickly to get it rolled out. If the butter starts to ooze out or if it’s being stubborn and springs back on you it’s time to stop, return it to a sheet pan and put it back in the refrigerator.
The next tip is to ever so lightly, flour your counter-top to prevent the dough from sticking. (I use a piece of marble for rolling out pastry dough, as the surface stays cold.) After the dough is rolled out to the desired size, use a pastry brush to remove any excess flour. You’ll thank me later for reminding you to do this.
As you see in the ingredient list there are lots of options. I had chestnut flour so added the 30 grams that were languishing in the freezer. Orange zest would be a great addition. If I had I remembered the orange on the counter; organic no less, I would have added the zest. If the flavor of alcohol is not your cup of tea, by all means omit it and add orange flower water..or not.
Some recipes called for a bit of apricot jam. I had some from another recipe test so I added it. And I’m just going to say it, I saw a YouTube video where a pastry chef added slices of poached pears as part of the filling. I had poached pears from another recipe too, so in they went. I’m not even adding pears to the ingredient list. By all means the classic version, using only almond flour with no optional ingredients is absolutely amazing. I hope I didn’t get carried away.
If time does not allow you to make the puff pastry yourself you can generally find frozen puff pastry in the freezer section of a well-stocked supermarket. Avoid brands though that list any fat other than butter in the ingredients.
1 cup (100 g) almond flour*
3 tablespoons (30 g) chestnut or hazelnut flour* (optional)
1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
Pinch kosher or sea salt
7 tablespoons (3.5 oz / 100 g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (3.5 oz / 100 g) granulated sugar
Zest of orange, preferably organic (optional)
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, cognac, rum, or orange flower water*
Fevé such as a fava bean, whole almond, hazelnut, candied fruit, or porcelain trinket
1 ¼ pounds (~ 500 grams) all-butter classic  or quick  puff pastry, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons apricot jam*
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Paper crown for decorating
In a small bowl measure out 130 g almond flour or if using another flour too, measure out 100 g almond and 30 g of hazelnut or chestnut flour. Add the cornstarch and salt. Set aside
In a medium bowl mix together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. Mash in the butter until it’s completely incorporated. (The reason to use the wooden spoon and not a stand mixer is that you do not want to incorporate air into the batter.)
Add the almond flour mixture, and orange zest if using to the butter mixture. Stir in the eggs one at a time, along with the liquor (if using) and almond extract. (The mixture may not look completely smooth, which is normal.) Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of puff pastry into a circle about 11-inches round. Using a pot lid, plate, expandable cake ring or the bottom of a tart pan as a template, trim the dough into neat circle.
Place the dough on the parchment lined baking sheet. If adding the jam, carefully spread it over the center of the dough, leaving a 1-inch exposed border. Pop the pan with the dough in the freezer. (Why put the jam-smeared dough in the freezer? It allows the jam to freeze making it easier to spread the almond filling on top of it later.)
Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper, then roll the other piece of dough into an 12-inch circle, trim it and chill this dough in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.
Remove the almond filling and dough from the refrigerator; and the other dough from the freezer. Spread the almond filling over the center of jam-smeared dough, leaving the same 1-inch exposed border. If you wish, place the almond, hazelnut, piece of candied fruit or trinket to act as the fève (prize) somewhere in the almond filling.
Brush water generously around the exposed perimeter of the dough then place the other circle of dough on top of the galette and press down to seal the edges very well. (At this point, you can chill the galette since it’ll be a bit easier to finish and decorate, although it’s not necessary. After it is decorated it can be returned to the refrigerator overnight or wrap it well and freeze it for up to a month.)
To bake the galette, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Flute the sides of the dough (as shown in the photo) and use a paring knife to create a design on top.
Using a fork whisk together the egg yolk and sugar and brush it evenly over the top. Avoid getting the glaze on the sides, which will inhibit the pastry from rising at the edges. Use a paring knife to poke 4 – 5 holes in the top, to allow the steam to escape while baking.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the galette is browned on top and up the sides. (During baking, if the galette puffs up too dramatically poke it again once or twice with the paring knife to release the steam.) Remove from the oven and slide the galette off the baking sheet and onto a cooling rack.
The galette will deflate as it cools, which is normal. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with the paper crown if you were lucky enough to find one.