Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Galette des Rois

After Christmas and New Year, the party continues in France. The Epiphanie celebrates the arrival of the Wise Men to the infant Jesus. And what better way to celebrate that with a cake!!!

The "Galette des Rois", or Kings' Cake, is traditionally made of an almond filling, Frangipane,  enclosed in two disks of puff pastry. Inside the filling you place a token, usually a small porcelain figure (one of the three Kings.....) and the person finding the token in his or her plate gets a paper crown and is the King or Queen for the day!!

Galette des Rois

Serves 10

2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 egg

250 g butter, softened
200 g sugar
250 g almond meal (I bought it at Trader Joe's)
2 Tbsp Tapioca starch
4 eggs
2 Tbsp Captain Morgan rum

Cream the butter in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, almond meal, Tapioca starch. Mix well to remove any lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time and the rum. When all mixed, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Roll out the puff pastry into two disks. Place one on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or Silpat mat.

Whisk the egg with a little bit of water in a small bowl. Spread the Frangipane on the disk, leaving a  2-in border. Place the token in the Frangipane, pushing it in the filling so that no one can see its location. Do not place it in the center but closer to an edge. Otherwise when you cut the the Galette, your knife will keep running into it.
Brush the egg wash on the perimeter of the puff pastry and place the second disk on top. Press the two disks together to seal the almond cream inside.
With the tip of a knife, score the Galette decoratively, careful not to break through the puff pastry.
Brush the rest of the egg wash on the Galette. Poke a few holes on the top to allow air to escape when baking.
Refrigerate for one hour.

Bake at 360F for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.

When cooked, let cool completely and serve!


Tradition has the younger person in the room hide under the table while the hostess serves the Galette. That youngster decides who is having that piece of Galette. The lucky person who finds the token gets the golden paper crown and is King or Queen for the day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Eggnog Trifle

This New Year's Eve marked the beginnings of 10 Porcupine Dr in Campton, NH. This is where our friends the DeDeckos have built a log cabin, and where we held the last party of 2011, or rather, the first party of 2012!!!

There was food, wine, Champagne, music and dancing...Prime rib, oven roasted potatoes, salad...and desserts. My contribution to the sweet side of dinner was a Tiramisu/Trifle from an old edition of Bon Appetit, which I had tried once before. It is light and rich at the same time. You will love it, and not just for the holidays!

Eggnog Trifle

Serves about 16 people

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Captain Morgan rum
3 Tbsp Cognac
12 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

4 8-oz containers of Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Cognac
1/2 Tbsp Captain Morgan rum

1 1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso or very strong coffee
1/2 cup Kahlua, or other coffee liquor

50 to 60 Lady Finger cookies (I buy mine at Trader Joe's)

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

A trifle dish

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, water, rum, Cognac, egg yolks and nutmeg. Set the bowl over simmering water (bottom of the pan should not touch the water). Whisk until the mixture thickens. It will become foamy and light (until candy thermometer reads 140F). Whisk a couple of minutes more.
Remove from the heat and add the Mascarpone, one container at a time. Whisk until blended. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the heavy cream, vanilla, Cognac and rum until firm peaks form. Gently fold in the Mascarpone mixture.

Ground the chocolate chips in a food processor until it resembles small pebbles.

In a medium bowl, mix the espresso and Kahlua together.

Dip the lady Finger cookies in the coffee mixture, one at a time,  and line the bottom of the trifle dish.

Pour about 2 cups of the Mascarpone mixture on top of the cookies.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top of the cream. Place another layer of dipped cookies on top and repeat until your dish is filled. Finish with the cream topped with the chocolate chips.

Refrigerate at least over night.

If you have too much Mascarpone mixture for your dish - as was the case for me! - you can make mini parfaits in Martini glasses.

I made this dessert two day ahead and it was delicious. The cream was firm and did not run all over as I was cutting it. And all the flavors had blended together.