First of all I wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope you had a great time with your family and had way too much (delicious) Food and Champagne 😉 This year Den & I had the best time ever – we got to spend Christmas with both our families: The Dutchies and Frenchies all together around one table! That was a lot of fun! Both Den & I were scared of the language limitations, but you know just as well as I do that after a few glass of Champagne you can talk any languages you want, especially when it revolves around food hahaha XD
Anyhow I hope you had a Gorgeous Christmas break and that you are ready to kick off this New Year with tons of new (cooking) experiments with me. And what better to start with the first French tradition of the Year: The Galette des Rois.
If you’ve ever been in France during the month of January, surely you’ve noticed the blossoming of Galettes des Rois (King Cake) in the window of every bakery and pastry shop. Most shops actually starts selling them from late December in anticipation of the celebration of Epiphany. The traditional date to share the Galette is on January 6. However it is quite common that the celebration is held on the first Sunday after January 1.
it is tradition to bake a fève (bean) into the tart and whoever gets the bean (preferably a child – and crafty parents have learned to cut around the pieces to make sure a kid gets the trinket!) gets to be the roi (king) for the day and wear a gilded paper crown that bakeries often give with the Galettes. Nowadays les fèves come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Cartoon characters are popular in France, as are French historical or religious figures. Not only is it fun to see them, but some have become quite collectable.
There are two kinds of Kings Cakes in France; one is layers of puff pastry filled with almond cream, and the other is a circular yeasted cake, sort of Brioche. It’s very popular in the south of France, my Dad swears by the almond version but my Mom, Sister and I always preferred the brioche Galette because you could just have it for breakfast already… no need to wait until the end of lunch before getting your first slice of Galette des Rois. So instead of buying just one Galette and having to argue over which version we would buy this year, my Mom would buy both Galettes several times throughout the month of January and keep everybody happy – lucky us 🙂
In this post I will give you the recipe for my favourite Galette des Rois: the Brioche… and because I am a terrible “Gourmande” I have added some extra chocolate chip to it… Enjoy!
Chocolate chip King Cake:
Cooking time: 4hrs
– 250gr all-purpose flour
– 30gr sugar
– 1tsp salt
– 10gr fresh yeast
– 3 eggs
– 165gr butter, diced and softened
– 2 egg yolks (for the glaze)
– 1 large handful chocolate chip
– 1 fève
Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Crumble in the yeast, making sure it does not touch the salt.
Add the eggs and knead at low-speed until a dense dough forms (2-3 minutes).
Add the butter and incorporate at medium speed. Continue kneading until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl, (5-10 minutes). Or knead by hand, Stop when you can hold the dough in your hand and it keeps its shape.
If the dough is still to “wet” add flour to your dough a tbsp at a time until you get the right consistency. The dough should be soft and buttery, not too sticky but be careful not to add to much flour otherwise your brioche will become too dense.
Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature in a bowls until doubled in volume (about 1hr).
On a lightly floured work surface shape the dough into a loaf and add the chocolate chip. Cover with plastic wrap and chip until firm and cold (1hr).
Now on a lightly floured surface, divide your dough into 3 equal parts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll a piece of dough with both hands into a rope (about 60/65cm long). Repeat with the other pieces.
Place the 3 strands of dough side by side. Spread the 2 outer strand to make a fan shape. Place the strand on the right between the 2 strands on the left. Place the strand on the left between the 2 on the right. and repeat by placing the strand on the right between the 2 on the left. Continue until the loaf is half braided.
Pivot your parchment paper so that the 3 unbraided strands are facing you. Continue by placing the strand on the right over the 2 strands on the left and the strand on the left over the strands on the right. Continue until you reach the end and shape your braided brioche into a crown by pinching the tips together.
Transfer the braided loaf to the prepared baking sheet. Add the fève into the braided loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1hr. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Lightly beat the 2 egg yolks with a little bit of milk and brush the puffy braided brioche crown with the egg glaze, bake for 10 minutes. Take the brioche out of the oven and glaze the brioche a second time. Bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Transfer to a rack and let cool. Voilà 😉
Champagne is the perfect pairing because brioche is tender, it toasts beautifully and it’s rich yet delicate enough that it doesn’t overwhelm. The bubbles really complement that texture.
The Dutch boyfriend’s opinion:
The danger with baking is in my opinion the risk of using and thus eating tons of sugar. In the Netherlands, and I am sure in other countries as well, we use a lot of sugar in our bakeries. So when Raph proposed to make a brioche, I was a bit reluctant for health/fattening reasons. So she promised me to use not a lot of sugar, yay me.
Ah! When the brioche came out of the oven, the entire apartment smelled like bakeryheaven. To bad there were pictures to be taken first, but when it was my turn to attack the sweetness in front of me I was a very happy man. Enough chocolate, soft dough and a very tasty crust made it awesome to taste. Even much better than any bakery brioche I have had so far… And yes! even better than that little bakery shop in Paris.