The "Galette des Rois" is a cake traditionally shared at Epiphany, on 6 January. It celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. Many variations exist made out puff pastry and brioche stuffed with candied fruits.
Here is an epic king cake recipe made with a delicious frangipane cream that is flavored with candied chestnuts and orange. A must try!
Cooked chestnut, candied chestnut (marron glacés) and chestnut spread (crème de marron) can be ordered online. The traditional puff pastry, inverted puff pastry and quick puff pastry can all apply for this recipe and all are available on my recipe page. This recipe yields 2 king cakes. Unbaked cakes can be stored for up to 3 months in the freezer. Don't forget the trinket or use a whole almond. Whoever finds the trinket in their slice of cake gets to be “king” for a day and is also said to have good luck. Make a day ahead.
Orange confit puree may be subbed for orange or kumquat marmalade. However, the addition of orange can be skipped.
Chop poached oranges and put them in a narrow container. Add lemon juice, water and half of the sugar. Mix with an immersion blender and transfer mixture to a saucepan. Meanwhile, combine remaining sugar with the pectin. Heat up orange puree and add the sugar-pectin mixture. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add more sugar to taste if needed; set aside.
Bring milk and vanilla to a boil; turn off the heat, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, mix yolks with sugar and add starch. Reboil milk and pour in egg-mixture gradually – and put mixture back to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chestnut cream/spread. To get rid of any lumps, mix hot custard with an immersion blender. Transfer custard onto a small tray lined with plastic wrap, and cover it with another plastic wrap sheet in contact; refrigerate until ready to use. The custard must be cold before being incorporated into the almond cream.
In the food processor or stand mixer, beat butter with chestnut spread. Add sugar, starch and almond meal. Mix until smooth and then add the eggs. Scrap out sides of the bowl and give a few more pulses. Add chopped orange confit and reserve chestnut almond cream in a pastry bag fitted with a medium size plain pastry tip. Pipe out two 7.75-inch/19.5 cm diameter disks. Top disks with chopped chestnuts and add the trinket and freeze completely. The help of tart rings for this step is a plus.
Flip frozen disks, and spread the orange confit puree (2.6 ounces/80g max per wheel) – keep frozen.
Mix yolks and cream with a small pinch of salt and sieve. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
For the puff pastry, you would need 300g for the bottom and same for the top for each cake.
Roll out chilled pastry into two 3 mm thick ''round'' sheets and refrigerate to rest. Line a tray with parchment and lay the first chilled pastry over it. Mark the dough using the 9-inch/23 cm diameter tart ring and place the frozen chestnut-almond insert (orange side down) in the center. Moisturize pastry with water all around the mark and enclose it with the second pastry. Seal, and make a few small holes all around the edges and cut cake into a 10 or 9-inch/26/23 cm round. Gather scraps without smashing them and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Puff pastry scraps are great to use in place of pie dough for savory or sweet pies and other applications such as Parisian flan.
Flip the cake and egg wash; refrigerate an hour and repeat once. Make a hole in the center and gently score using the tip of a paring knife or exacto. Make a few more small holes inside the scores.
Make sure that the almond cream insert is completely thawed before baking.
Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC, and bake cake for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off, leave the door barely ajar and let cake inside for 15 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!