Gateau de pithiviers

Gateau de pithiviers

By
From
Baking
Serves
8-10
Photographer
Vanessa Levis

In France, a version of this cake is made flatter and known as galette des rois (cake of kings). This is a traditional Epiphany cake served on Twelfth Night (6 January), but it’s usually available in pâtisseries from Christmas until the end of January. Traditionally a dried bean or silver trinket would be hidden in the almond paste, and the cake accompanied by a cardboard crown. The lucky person who found the bean in their piece of cake would wear the crown for the day.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 sheets frozen puff pastry made with butter, just thawed
1 egg, beaten with 1/4 teaspoon salt, to glaze
caster sugar, to dust

Almond filling

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter, softened
110g sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
125g whole blanched almonds, freshly ground, (see Tip)
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 teaspoons rum

Method

  1. To prepare the filling, cream the butter in a bowl. Add the sugar and beat until soft and light. Beat in the egg and egg yolk. Stir in the almonds, flour and rum; don’t beat the mixture at this point or the oil will be drawn out of the almonds.
  2. Using a cake tin as a guide, use a sharp knife to cut out a 23 cm round from each pastry sheet. Place one round on a baking sheet and mound the filling in the centre, leaving a 2.5 cm border. Brush the border with the egg glaze. Roll out the other round slightly so it is slightly larger than the first, lay it on top and press the edges together firmly.
  3. Brush the gâteau with the egg glaze and, working from the centre, score the top in curves like the petals of a flower without cutting through to the filling.
  4. Chill for 15–20 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Pierce a few holes in the centre of the gâteau to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle it with sugar or icing sugar and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until puffed and brown on top. Lower the oven temperature to 200°C and continue baking for 15–20 minutes or until firm, lightly browned on the sides and glazed with melted sugar on top. If the sugar has not melted by the time the pastry is cooked, grill it quickly (watching it carefully) until shiny.
  6. Cool the gateau on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tip

  • To freshly grind the almonds I use a small nut mill that I have had for years. The next best thing is a coffee grinder, kept especially for grinding nuts, or a food processor. Roughly chop the nuts first by hand, then grind using the pulse button, though not too finely. Little bits of almond give the filling a pleasing texture.
Tags:
baking
bakery
margaret
fulton
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