Recipe

Dominique Ansel Reveals His Recipe for Galette des Rois

New York-based French pastry chef Dominique Ansel – the wizard behind the renowned Cronut – shares his own recipe for making a crispy, melt-in-the-mouth king cake that has stayed the same since he opened his first store in New York City in 2011!
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Courtesy of Dominique Ansel Bakery

Making the Puff Pastry Dough (The Day Before)

Ingredients

For the puff pastry dough
70g bread flour (plus more as needed for dusting) 2.5g kosher salt
0.5g white vinegar
37.5g water, cold 28g unsalted butter, softened

For the butter block
54g all-purpose flour
56g unsalted butter, softened

Make the dough:

1. Combine the bread flour, salt, vinegar, cold water, and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed until just blended, about 21⁄2 minutes. The dough should look rough – there’s been no gluten development at this stage. (Bread flour has more gluten than all-purpose flour. It’s ideal for laminated doughs and bread-like doughs that will need to be shaped.)

2. Dust the work surface with extra bread flour. With your hands, shape the dough into a 4-inch square about 3⁄8 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes.

Make the butter block:

1. Combine the all-purpose flour and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, until there are no streaks of butter. The mixture should still feel like soft butter.

2. Draw a 7-inch square on a piece of parchment paper with a pencil. Flip the parchment over so that the butter won’t come in contact with the pencil marks. Place the butter in the center of the square and spread it evenly with an offset spatula to fill the square. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm but still pliable.

3. Remove the butter from the refrigerator. It should still be soft enough to bend slightly without cracking. If it is too firm, lightly beat the butter with a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface until it becomes pliable. Make sure to press the butter back to its original 7-inch square after working it.

4. Arrange the chilled dough in the center of the butter block so it looks like a diamond in the center of the square (rotated 45 degrees, with the corners of the dough facing the center of the butter block sides).

5. Fold the corners of the butter block up and over to the center of the dough. The butter block should completely cover the dough. Pinch the seams of the butter block together to prevent the dough from peeking through. (Whenever folding butter, it is important to work swiftly to ensure it doesn’t melt. There are two different types of puff pastry. When the butter is on the inside, it is regular puff pastry. When it is on the outside – as in the case here – it is inverse puff pastry, which can result in a flakier, more caramelized pastry.)

Make the first fold:

1. Generously flour the work surface and rolling pin. You’ll need a rather large work surface for this task. With the rolling pin, using steady, even pressure, roll the butter-covered dough out from the center so it triples in length. When finished rolling, you should have a rectangle about 12 by 61⁄2 by 1⁄4 inch. (Keeping the shape of the dough is very important at this point to ensure even layers.)

2. Place the dough so the longer sides run left to right. From the right side, fold one-third of the dough onto itself, keeping the edges lined up with each other. From the left side, fold one third of the dough on top of the side that has already been folded. Line up all the edges so that you are left with an even rectangle. The dough is being folded as if it were a piece of paper going into an envelope; this is called a “letter fold.” Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes to rest. (Resting the dough relaxes the gluten and keeps the butter chilled.)

Make the second and third folds:

1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. It should be firm but not hard. (If it is not pliable, let it sit briefly to soften.) Place on a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, using steady, even pressure, roll the dough out from the center vertically from top to bottom. The dough should triple in length and increase in width 11⁄2 times; this will take several passes. When finished, you should again have a rectangle about 12 by 61⁄2 by 1⁄4 inch. (When rolling out the dough, it’s always best to have the open seams on the top to ensure the layers remain even and don’t slide when you are rolling.)

2. Rotate the dough so the longer sides run left to right. This time, from the right side fold one-quarter of the dough onto itself. From the left side, fold one-quarter of the dough onto itself. The two ends should meet in the middle of the dough. Fold the dough in half where the ends meet. You will have 4 layers of dough on top of one another. This is called a “double book fold.” Wrap the dough again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes to rest.

3. Repeat the second (double book) fold again. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Making the Almond Frangipane (The Day Of)

Ingredients

For the pastry cream
96ml milk
44g unsalted butter, softened
29g yolks
23g sugar
6g cornstarch

For the almond cream
99g almond flour
70g confectioners’ sugar 10g rum
79g unsalted butter, softened
59g eggs

Make the pastry cream:

1. Heat milk in a medium pot over medium heat until it reaches 149°F (do not boil). Remove from the heat.

2. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and egg yolks.

3. Temper the yolks: Stream in a third of the warm milk into the yolk mix- ture, whisking constantly. Stream in another third of the milk while whisking. Return the tempered yolks into the milk, whisking to combine. Return the pot to medium-low heat. Continue to cook the pastry cream, whisking constantly, until it reaches 185°F (it will noticeably thicken). Remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter until fully incorporated.

4. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Make the almond cream:

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together confectioners’ sugar and butter on medium speed until combined. Add in a third of the almond flour and a third of the eggs and continue mixing until combined. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continuing on medium speed, adding in the second third of the almond flour and eggs until combined, then the remaining almond flour and eggs, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl in between.

2. Add rum, mix until fully incorporated.

Make the almond frangipane:

1. In a large bowl, fold the pastry cream and almond cream together until combined.

2. Transfer to a piping bag. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the galette.

dominique-ansel-bakery-nyc-galette-des-rois-king-cake-3
Courtesy of Dominique Ansel Bakery

Assembling the Galette

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. Place it on a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, using steady, even pressure, roll the dough out from the center, until you have a rectangle that’s 1/8 inch thick. Cut out two 8-inch round discs.

3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out the discs of puff pastry dough. Brush the edges with water (about 0.8 inch inward). Pipe a layer of almond frangipane (just under half of the frangipane you made in the recipe above, for each galette), leaving a 0.8-inch border around the edge. (Don’t forget to hide the fève, a ceramic figurine, somewhere in the frangipane!) Place the other puff pastry discs on top and press down to seal the edges very well. Chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.

4. Remove the galette from the refrigerator. Flute the edges and brush the top with egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 tsp milk, beaten together). Then using a paring knife, score the top in a decorative pattern, to resemble a crown. Bake for 45 minutes, until the puff pastry if beautifully golden brown and flaky. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature (we prefer it warm!). (Do not refrigerate the galette, as the humidity in the refrigerator will cause the puff pastry to get soggy.)

5. The person who finds la fève, the lucky charm or figurine tucked inside the cake, becomes the king or queen, wears a paper crown, and chooses their queen or king for the day! Traditionally, the youngest guest – seen as the most innocent – hides under the table while the cake is being cut and attributes a slice to each person. This is what the French call tirer les rois!


Recipe published in the January 2022 issue of France-Amérique. Subscribe to the magazine.

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