galette de rois

king cake 0999

Yesterday Future Husband and I were discussing food items. He said dinner “looked great” and I said something about how I was more concerned about how it tasted than how it looked and he said “well your food always looks good AND tastes good” (isn’t he just ever so sweet?). I replied that it wasn’t true, that sometimes my food looked ugly but tasted great anyway, to which he agreed.

The then followed with, “Or sometimes food looks great but it tastes AWFUL” to which I shot him a look and said “BUT NEVER MY FOOD OF COURSE!” where he caught himself and said “No, of course not your food. Never your food!”

No. Of course not my food. That would just be crazy.

Well this, my friends, falls into the middle category. Looks like the pastry equivalent of a melting burn victim but tastes like angel wings and unicorn glitter.

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In fact, if I had to rate this cake on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is best,  this cake gets a 2 on looks but on flavor… YOU GUYS the flavor… This flavor goes to 11.

Which is one more than ten.

Anyway, this was my attempt to make David Lebowitz’s galette de rois (aka: king cake).

The concept of king cake is thusly: You make a cake, you hide a “feve”. Your feve can be pretty much anything: a candy, a nut, a chocolate chip, or even a tiny toy… I recommend against the latter only because I am rarely eating at a speed at which choking is not already a hazard and I have no need to tempt my fate by including inedible objects in my baking. When cutting and serving your cake, HE WHO GETS THE FEVE RULES THE WORLD, or good luck, or fortune, or any variety of things depending on your region and the type of king cake you are enjoying. I’m not totally filled in on the whole history of king cake, I am much more knowledgeable about eating it.

As luck would have it, out of this whole cake the very first slice FH cut sliced right through the feve… which was extra alarming to him because he was (1) unaware of what king cake was (2) definitely unaware that there was anything hiding inside of it (3) afraid that I was trying to poison him.

After I reassured him that it was just a dried cherry and that it meant he could have been “the king” for the day had he been better at cutting things, we both had half of a feve. I think that means we are both half lucky for a year… or maybe 100% lucky for half of a year… I’m not really sure how this whole thing works. Maybe he canceled out all the luck by cutting right through the feve, that’s the more likely scenario.

Anyway, this cake was supposed to look like this:

It did not.

I could have cried and decided not to post it, or made a whole new one altogether, but having already consumed my weight in my “failed” king cake (and thoroughly enjoying it), I didn’t have it in me to make another one. Plus I was out of almond paste and the store always seems much farther when your belly is full of puff pastry and almonds.

Turns out all that filling that leaked out and baked on its own, that stuff is FREAKING DELICIOUS. In fact, I’ve been thinking about making a whole batch of the filling, spreading it out on a baking sheet, and baking the crap out of it because IT WAS THAT GOOD GUYS. Seriously. So good.

I’m sure it’s equally good (maybe even better) piled inside of the cake, as per Mr. Lebowitz’s picture above. My cake had much less filling (obviously, given the glorious almond paste puddle surrounding it) but was still irresistibly delicious, not to mention super easy to make… assuming that you can properly seal your edges unlike SOME PEOPLE. (/looks around)

king cake 1007

The moral of the story (if there is one) is that sometimes when you’re baking things don’t always go to plan.Your caramel will burn, sugar will explode all over your kitchen, or your mug cake will overflow and fill your microwave with (delicious) cake batter.

These things happen.

And when they do… you have a choice. You have the choice to give up or to try again.

You also have the choice to eat the crap out of your “failed” item anyway and just accept that the baking gods are just not with you on that day.

So, without further adieu, here is the recipe for David Lebowit’z galette de rois. Remember to seal the edges very tightly. Or don’t, it’s up to you really.

galette de rois

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

    Almond Filling
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pound (or 1 package) puff pastry, divided in two pieces, chilled
  • 1 feve (an almond, dried fruit, piece of candy, the choice is yours!)
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon milk

Instructions

    For the almond filling
  1. Combine the almond flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and mix until it’s completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla and almond extracts. The mixture will be grainy, but that's ok. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the puff pastry
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of puff pastry into a circle or square about 9 1/2-inches wide. Using a cake pan or pot lid, trim the dough into neat circle.* Place the dough on the baking sheet.
  5. Cover the dough with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic film, then roll and trim the other piece of dough and lay it on top. Chill the dough for thirty minutes.
  6. Assemble the galette de rois
  7. Remove the dough and almond filling from the refrigerator. Remove the top layer of dough and parchment or plastic from pan so that there is only one circle of dough on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Spread the almond filling over the center of the dough, leaving a 1-inch exposed border.
  9. Strategically place your chosen feve somewhere in the almond filling,
  10. Brush water generously around the exposed perimeter of the dough then place the other circle of dough on top and press down very firmly to seal the edges very well.**
  11. To bake the galette, preheat the oven to 375ºF and decorate the top of your galette as desired by slicing into, but not through, the galette to create a design.
  12. Stir together the egg yolk with the milk and brush it evenly over the top. Try to avoid getting the glaze on the sides of the galette, as it will prevent the pastry from rising at the edges.
  13. Use a paring knife to poke 5 holes in the top, to allow steam escape while baking.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the galette is browned on top and up the sides.***
  15. 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.

Notes

*As far as I can tell, trimming the cake into a circle serves no real purpose. Next time I think I will roll the pastry sheets into 9 to 10-inch squares and bake in a square shape (less wasted puff pastry!)

**Seal the edges VERY WELL. Like, Really well. David decorated his all pretty-like even

***During baking, if the galette puffs up too much, you may poke it once or twice again with a paring knife to release the steam.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/08/galette-de-rois/

[ Adapted from David Lebowitz ]

 

easy cheesy twists

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I don’t know if I’m still tired from the holidays or if it’s just because hockey is back, but I’ve been fixated on fast and easy appetizers.  I’m sure that this will wear off eventually, but for now I’m still trying to make things that I can throw together super fast without sacrificing flavor, like last week’s prosciutto flatbread.  Given my past success with puff pastry shortcuts, that was naturally one of the first things I thought of.

These cheesy twists are the perfect, easy appetizer for your next get together.  They require minimal effort AND you can make them in advance.  Yep.  That means you can spend like 30 minutes (if even) in the kitchen today, and freeze these and have them ready at the drop of a hat for the next time you have guests over.  That easy.

I used parmesan cheese because I know it gets nice and crispy.  I debated cheddar as well, but, ya know.  That would have taken me twice as long.  I’ve got another sheet of puff pastry on ice with cheddar written all over it.  I would go with any sharp cheese, you want it to have lots of flavor, because the pastry itself isn’t super flavorful.  If not parmesan, a good pecorino or asiago would certainly do the trick.  I also added a sprinkle of garlic powder, a dash of smoked paprika, and a hint of cayenne for a little bit of kick, but the skies the limit here.

Easy Cheesy Twists

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed.
  • 2 ½ ounces (a little over ⅓ cup) parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt
  • Egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

2. Roll puff pastry to smooth folds. Roll to about 12 inch by 10 inch rectangle.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the cheese and spices.

4. Rub surface of puff pastry with egg wash.  Sprinkle cheese mixture over half of the puff pastry and fold the un-cheesed half over the cheesed half.  Roll again to press the two sides together, you should now have a rectangle that is 6 or 7 inches by 10 inches.

5. Cut rectangle into ½-inch strips, you’ll end up with about 20 strips.  Grab each end of a strip and twist until you have a spiral.  Place on the baking sheet, and continue twisting each strip until they’re all twisted.

6. Now you have a choice – bake now or freeze for later

To bake now: Brush each strip with egg wash, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 13 minutes until nice and golden.

To freeze: Place baking sheet in the freezer 40 minutes or until frozen.  Move twists into a freezer-proof bag and freeze until you’re ready to make them.  To bake from frozen, add an extra 2 – 3 minutes onto the baking time.

 

 

You may also like these easy bites:

cheesy artichoke bread  avocado fries  ccroll

cheater cinnamon rolls

dsc_3119I have a confession to make. Remember how last weekend I was really busy and didn’t have time for you guys? Remember how all I had was puff pastry and I couldn’t find my “try hard” pants, so you got a recipe for pesto-salami rolls? Well, I was holding out on you. I really wanted to talk about my weekend and our trip up to Flagstaff, with lots of nature pictures. So, in an attempt to not overwhelm you with a thousand pictures, I compromised. I gave you my puff pastry roll-up recipe, with pictures of outdoors, when I really had this amazing cheater cinnamon roll recipe that I made that very same day. That’s how easy this puff pastry thing is – 2 recipes, 10 minutes (not including baking time, of course), just spread with ingredients and roll up. SO EASY! And look how cute they were, just LOOK!

As I was trying to think of something to do with my puff pastry – I vaguely remembered watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa where she made cheater “sticky buns” using puff pastry. I didn’t want sticky buns. I know this may be considered sacrilege, but I really abhor nuts in my baked goods. (I know, try not to judge me too hard.)

However, since sticky buns are pretty much just fancy (and messy) cinnamon rolls – I decided that puff pastry would be delicious filled with cinnamon. You have no idea how right I was. The best part? The cinnamon sugar somehow leaked into the bottom of the muffin cup and caramelized on the bottom of the cinnamon roll – giving it this layer of delicious cinnamon-sugary goodness.

Just look at that goodness. Who could possibly say no to that? The only change I would make is to add more cinnamon filling to these, although I’m not completely convinced it wouldn’t just leak to the bottom of the roll. I’m also not completely convinced that leaking to the bottom would be a bad thing. Did I mention how fast and easy these are to make?

They lack the soft, sweet chew usually associated with a nice, fresh cinnamon roll. Instead they have a slight crunch to them (it is, after all, puff pastry). They really don’t keep all that well, either, not that they’d last past day two anyway. They’re so simple to make and come together so quickly, it’s a great alternative to a fussy, million hour cinnamon roll recipe for your next brunch. Just thaw the pastry dough overnight in the fridge, and assemble 30 minutes before your company arrives.

Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls

Print Me

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened or melted
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Unfold puff pastry sheet and spread with softened or melted butter.

2. Sprinkle brown sugar over sheet of puff pastry (I just sprinkle enough to cover it evenly, I don’t really measure), then sprinkle with cinnamon, leaving about 1/2 inch along the side farthest from you.

3. Tightly roll pastry from the side closest to you. Press the “clean” edge into the roll to seal. Cut into 6 pieces and place in muffin cups, cut side up.

4. Bake 20 – 30 min @ 375F until golden brown. Cool on wire rack about 10 minutes before eating (just so they don’t burn you as you shovel them into your mouth).

**Your average puff pastry package will come with 2 sheets of pastry dough. Each sheet will give you 6 rolls, so one package will yield 12 rolls.

 

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road trip { + salami puffs }

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This post is not about salami puffs. This post is about vacation.

This weekend BF whisked me off to Flagstaff to escape the heat. I never thought I’d be going somewhere that was “only 80 degrees” to get out of the heat, but I guess stranger things have happened. (Like the fact that it’s been a crazy triple digit heatwave back east, where my mom went to escape the heat… oops?) The picnic was super sweet, he made delicious Italian sandwiches on a baguette along with some pasta salad. So sweet. Plus, we got to use my giant cooler that I got on super sale at Target. I bought it specifically “for picnics”, even though I haven’t actually been on a picnic in the 3+ years I’ve lived here (and probably even a few more before that). It seemed like a good idea at the time, it was such a good deal. I was practically losing money if I didn’t buy it!

Here in the desert we don’t see a lot of green, or any other color besides brown, so it was definitely a nice change. It was nice to be able to walk in grass instead of rocks, and see flowers instead of cacti. We found a nice, shady spot near the lake and set up our picnic.

After we ate our lunch, we relaxed a bit, debated what to do next, and met some ducks. BF is so sweet, he even let the duckies join in on our picnic. Turns out they like baguettes just as much as we do.

After that we walked around downtown Flagstaff for a little while, perusing shops and whatnot. Then we decided we needed ice cream, so we looked up the nearest ice cream stops but most of them were just chains. I didn’t drive two hours to eat somewhere I could eat at home. We found a place that had good reviews in Sedona, so we decided to take scenic route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona on the way home. The drive takes you down a windy two lane road through ponderosa pines, along canyon walls to Sedona, known for its red rocks. Once in Sedona we stopped at Black Cow Cafe for “Sedona’s Best Ice Cream”. To be honest, it was pretty darn good.

Even got to watch a storm roll in on the way home! When you live in the desert, anytime you see rain you get really excited. Weird, I know.

The weekends are generally reserved for the kitchen. Since clearly one of my days was completely taken, that didn’t really leave a lot of time for you guys. What would I do for you? I couldn’t just leave you here to fend for yourselves!

I was feeling kinda guilty about taking the weekend off, so Sunday afternoon I raided the fridge and found: puff pastry, leftover salami from the sandwiches, and pesto. Done! I give you: Pesto Salami Puff Pastry Rolls! (what a mouthful, eh?) I recommend dipping them in some marinara sauce, but that’s just me.

Pesto Puffs

Print Me!

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • Pesto
  • Salami, diced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan, shredded

1. Unfold puff pastry, spread with pesto. Sprinkle evenly with salami and parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Roll pastry up tightly, then cut into 1/2″ slices.

3. Place evenly spaced on 2 baking sheets and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes until golden brown.