From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.
A recipe for the Northern French frangipane tart version of Kings’ Cake. Often eaten at Epiphany in January, Kings’ Cake is also closely associated with pre-Lenten festivities surrounding Carnival/Mardi Gras.
We spent our holidays with family, bundling up and piling in the car again and again, a jumble of hats and mittens and frosty noses hidden underneath. We carried silver trays piled high with cookies, slow cookers filled with simmering produce, and stacks of Christmas cards to be hand delivered to doorsteps up and down the state. In the end, all the family members had their fill of children laughing and squealing in delight over even the smallest of festivities. With five family holiday meals, one groom’s dinner, and one New Year’s Eve wedding behind us, we all but collapsed on the couch at home. Just in time for school to start up.
With all the running, we didn’t seem to get time to do what we do best as a family, so on Epiphany, we huddled around our kitchen together, rolling dough, mixing fillings, slicing and chopping, and getting back to what makes us tick.
Sitting down around the table piled high with roast, brussels sprouts, salads, and with a timely cake waiting on the sidelines for dessert, it finally felt like we were starting a new year, just as it should begin, with us coming together and doing the things that keep us together like family dinners around the table. I do believe we started a new Epiphany tradition for us. We’ll see you here next year. Same date. Same place. Same tart.
I hid an almond in my galette des rois, rather than a small trinket or la fève. Tradition says you cut this tart into the number of people present plus one, the remaining slice being reserved for God, the Virgin Mary, or the poor. The one who has the trinket in their slice of tart becomes king or queen for the day…or they are responsible for bringing the tart next year. Either or. Regardless, I’ll be on the lookout for small trinkets to bake inside for my kids to find next year.
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- 2 sheets puff pastry (or 1 recipe gluten-free puff pastry)
- 2-3 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 whole almond, if desired
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cream
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the alond flour, sugar, arrowroot flour, and salt. cut in the butter until incorporated. Stir in the egg and cognac. Chill.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Roll the two pastry sheets to 10" squares. Using a pie plate or other round object, cut 2 10" circles.
- Place one circle on your lined baking sheet. Spread the apricot jam in the center, leaving a 2" edge. Top with the chilled almond filling. Place the almond in the filling.
- Brush water over the edge of the bottom circle. Top with the second pastry circle and pinch along the edge to seal.
- To crimp, use your thumb and pointer finger together, pressing the back of a paring knife into the edge to create the crease. Continue around the entire tart.
- Whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Brush over the entire tart. Decorate the tart by scoring the tart with a pairing knife to leave an indentation.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.