Epiphany is coming! Dates may vary through Europe (first Sunday of January for French people or the 6th of January for some Mediterranean countries)
Why do I speak about these dates? Well, first because some European inhabitants who celebrate Christmas receive gifts only the 6th (yes, the Three Wise Men brought with them also gifts for children and not only for Jesus Christ!…) as it is, for example, in Spain or Italy but it is also the case in the Orthodox tradition! (well, don’t forget neither that they don’t use, for religious application, the Gregorian calendar but the Julian one)
In France, as always, Epiphany is also the excuse to share good food and, the specialty is the Kings pie (in French, “Galette des rois”); it is no more a religious symbol but a symbol of gourmandise (and kilograms!).
Two traditions exist in France: in the North, the Kings pie is an almond sauce between two foils of puff pastry. In the South, they have Brioche ring with crystallized fruits. As I grew up in the North with parents, both from the North too, I’ll share with you the recipe of the puff one:
-175 gr powder almond
-75 gr (un)salted soft butter
-130 gr iced sugar
-almond extract (optional)
-1 (small) glass of rum (optional)
-2 enrolled ready-made puff pastries or one block (to separate in 2 and to roll so)
-1 china figurine/bean
– Mix in a bowl almond, sugar, eggs and butter (if not enough soft, you can warm it in a pan) and the rum.
Note: As I really like almond, I add 2 corks (the one of the bottle, as it is quite strong in taste!) of almond extract but it’s definitely up to your taste!
– Roll puff pastries, and dispose one on a pie plate. Spread the almond sauce, dispose the china bean in the sauce (not too close of the external part of the pie. Close the pie with the second puff pastry on the top. To close properly, you can twist the two pastries together. You can finish the decoration with incised pattern on the second puff pastry (flowers, geometric lines, Mikey if you’re really talented…) and glazed with milk or a egg yolk.
– Put in the oven, 180C, 40 min.
– You can eat it tepid or cold.
About the china bean: the idea is to cut the pie (without cutting the bean, actually, not so easy!). The French tradition wants, at this moment, that the youngest guest choose who will have which slice. But to prevent any cheating he/she has to name attributions under the table. The one who will find it in HIS/HER slice is the kink or the queen. At this moment, he/she receives a crown and choose his/her queen/king.
In contrary than with the lucky penny in the Christmas Cake, this bean brings you nothing else than fun and a paperboard crown!