I’m back to baking today after a bit of a break over Christmas and New Year. Well, it’s not that I haven’t baked, it’s just that, due to the excellent delegation skills of a certain Mr Claus, I haven’t had time to write about my sunken fruited Christmas cake (not a new and special type of cake, just one where all the fruit has sunk to the bottom), or my half decent mince pies.
I had a new book for Christmas; Patisserie Made Simple, by Edd Kimber. Edd won the first Great British Bake Off, way back in the BBC 2 days. He promises that his recipes are achievable in the home kitchen. I hope so. The cakes in the pictures look amazing, but then again, they always do don’t they?
I decided to start with Galette des Rois – a puff pastry pie filled with almond cream made to celebrate Epiphany – which just happens to be today.
The recipe uses rough puff pastry. I have made rough puff before, I made cream horns from a recipe in the Great British Bake Off, Big Book of Baking. Edd Kimber’s method is a bit less rough and, having seen the results, I have to say, a bit more puff.
I made the pastry yesterday – my boy had gone swimming with his Granddad and, miraculously, my whirlwind of a little girl decided she fancied a nap. Unusually for me – I would normally spend any period of unexpected silence in the house under my duvet – I used the time most productively.
I mixed plain flour with a pinch of salt, and then added the same weight of chilled butter, which I’d cut into small dice.
I gave the butter a quick comb through with my pastry blender (I think the butter is supposed to stay in quite big pieces for puff pastry), and added enough chilled water to bring the mixture together. I tipped everything out onto the work surface and worked the mix to a dough. I added a tiny bit more water at this stage, but not much. So far so good.
I gave everything, the work surface, the pastry, the rolling-pin, the front of my jumper, a good dusting of flour and rolled the pastry into a rectangle. I folded the top third down and the bottom third up, turned the pastry through 90°, rolled and folded again and put the pastry into the fridge for half an hour. I did this twice more and then put the pastry back into the fridge overnight. I think I said this when I made flaky pastry for eccles cakes, but making fancy pastry isn’t much more difficult than making shortcrust. It just takes longer.
For the filling, I heated raisins and rum in a pan until the rum had disappeared. The recipe says that it should be absorbed by the raisins. Mine seemed to evaporate, although, when I conducted the required taste test, the raisins did taste rummy. I left them to cool and made the almond cream filling by mixing butter and caster sugar in the KitchenAid. I think my butter, which should have been at room temperature, was on the cold side and I had to turn the mixer quite high to get a light and fluffy mix -the KitchenAid just about stayed on the work surface. I added an egg, mixed again, and then stirred in some ground almonds and the raisins.
Due to a considerable amount of over-indulgence at Christmas – and we still have crisp and cracker mountain, chocolate valley and half a Christmas cake to go – I’d decided to make half the recipe amount. I was aiming for four galettes. I divided the pastry in half, rolled it out and cut 9cm rounds out of one piece and 8cm rounds from the other. I ended up with enough for eight. I’m not sure how this happened. Perhaps my pastry was too thin. I suppose I could have stopped at four, but I didn’t. The post-Christmas healthy eating plan will just have to wait.
I put the smaller rounds onto a lined baking sheet, put the filling into the middle, covered them with the larger rounds and sealed the edges with a beaten egg yolk. I brushed the tops with the egg and put the galettes into the fridge for 15 minutes.
I was supposed to make fancy patterns over the top of each cake before they went into the oven, but I forgot. I baked them at 180° fan for half and hour. They came out like this.I wasn’t exactly sure what galettes des rois were supposed to look like (there’s no picture in my book), but I was pleased with these. The pastry had puffed up very nicely, and they were a lovely golden brown. I had one with a cup of coffee and a leg of Lakeside darts and it was beautiful. The pastry was really flaky with a good few layers (much better than the cream horns), and the filling was soft, sweet, rummy and raisiny. These are definitely something to make more than once. Patisserie Made Simple is going to be a very welcome addition to the growing Let’s Bake the Books pile.