This Galette des Rois (Kings' cake) is filled with a sweet pistachio mixture. The traditional Epiphany dessert is made with almond cream, called frangipane, so this was an obvious substitution. The green pistachios give the treats a nice color contrast, and work well with the flaky crust.
I got some Harry Potter fèves last time I went to Paris, which you can see in these pictures. The girls are obsessed with the series, so when I brought them out for the photos they went nuts. If you were to serve individual sized galettes, as I have done here, you should hide a fève in one of the dishes and let each person choose a plate at random. Just make sure to hide the fève well so that the naughty ones who peek can't figure out where you hid it. Whoever finds the fève is Queen or King for the day!
Servings: 18 individual galettes
36 (5 x 5-inch) squares puff pastry dough (store-bought)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean
2 teaspoons Armagnac (optional)
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 ounces roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts, shelled
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
For the pistachio mill:
Line a cutting board with plastic-wrap. Place all the pistachios onto the cutting board. Cover them with another layer of plastic wrap. Slightly crush the nuts using a meat tenderizer mallet. Transfer them to a blender, a food processor or spice grinder. Make sure you stop before it turns into nut butter. I use the VitaMix Dry Blade Container. The result should be a fine mill.
For the nut cream:
Using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs with about 5 tablespoons of sugar until they're pale, yellow. It will take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency must be very airy. Add Armagnac if you're using it. Set aside.
Cream the butter with another 5 tablespoons of sugar. Pour in the egg mixture. Add the pistachio mill. Mix until the batter is smooth. Add salt.
Prepping the vanilla:
Using a paring knife, scrape and gather all the grains of the vanilla bean. Add the grains of vanilla to the egg mixture.
For the egg wash:
Using a fork, beat the remaining egg yolk with a tablespoon of milk.
Using a 3-7/8-inch (98-millimeter) scalloped-edged circle cutter, create 9 puff pastry disks and 9 other disks using a 3-7/16-inch (88-millimeter) scalloped-edged circle cutter. Reserve the puff pastry remnants for appetizers (see tips)!
Line 3 baking sheets with a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper. Place the smaller-sized puff pastry disks onto the baking sheets. Prick the dough with a fork. Spread about 1-½ to 2 teaspoons of pistachio cream in the center of each disk. Lightly brush the puff pastry around the mound of pistachio cream with egg wash. Place a second layer of puff pastry (using the larger-sized puff pastry disks) over the pistachio cream. Press with your thumb around the pistachio cream to ensure both puff pastry pieces are sealed well.
Using the tip of a paring knife, create a grid (or flower) design on the puff pastry dough and brush the top with more egg wash. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes prior to baking.
For the simple syrup:
In a saucepan, dissolve the rest of the sugar in 1/4 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low for 2-3 minutes. If you fancy more Armagnac flavor, add a drop to the simple syrup. Set aside.
Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 minutes until the top is golden.
Open the oven. Using a silicone brush, glaze the mini galettes with the warm simple syrup and bake for an additional 3 minutes to get a nice golden crust and glossy look.
Let the galettes cool for a few minutes.
Bon appétit, and find out who is the Queen or King!
After scraping the grains of vanilla, don't discard the remaining vanilla bean. Just place it in a jar and cover it with regular granulated sugar. Let it sit for a few weeks and you'll have a nice, fragrant vanilla sugar.
Armagnac is very strong; I think 2 teaspoons are enough to flavor the pistachio nut cream. You can also use Cognac. For a kid-friendly version, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of imitation brandy extract for the Armagnac.
You can skip the step with the egg wash if you like, and brush the puff pastry dough with only water or melted butter. The egg wash gives a finished golden, glazed look and shine to the pastries. It also helps the dough sheets to stick to each other. You can also replace milk with cream, half and half or water.
Set aside the egg whites from the egg wash in the refrigerator and save them for making almond tuiles cookies (literally "roof tiles" in French) or macarons.
Don't discard the remnants of puff pastry. Make savory goat ricotta cheese puffs, parmesan puff pastry knots or cheese twists the next day!
Check out more desserts using nut cream and puff pastry.