Gâteau pithiviers

Gâteau pithiviers

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
8

Gâteau pithiviers is a much-loved pastry of France, named after the French town of Pithiviers. It becomes the traditional epiphany cake served on Twelfth Night (6th January) in France, when it is called galette des rois (cake of kings). It was the traditional gift of the baker to his favourite customers, the almond paste sometimes hiding a dried bean or silver trinket, and the cake accompanied by a cardboard cut-out crown. The lucky person who found the bean in his mouth would wear the crown for the day.

It is fairly easy to make, with frozen puff pastry sheets being readily available.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 sheets ready-rolled frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten, for glaze
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Filling

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter
115g caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
150g ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons rum

Method

  1. To make filling, cream the butter and beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and yolk. Stir in the ground almonds, flour and rum.
  2. With a sharp knife and using a cake tin as a guide, cut out a 25 cm round from each sheet of pastry. Set one round on a baking tray and mound the filling in the centre, leaving a 2.5 cm border. Brush the border with some of the egg glaze. Lay the remaining round on top and press the edges together firmly.
  3. Scallop the edge of the gâteau by pulling it in at regular intervals with the back of a knife. Chill until ready to bake, as this is delicious served warm. Brush with egg glaze and, working from the centre, score the top in curves like the petals of a flower without cutting through to the filling. Cut a hole in the centre to allow steam to escape.
  4. Bake in a preheated hot oven (220°C) for 20 minutes, reduce heat to a moderate 180°C and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with the extra caster sugar and return to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes to give the pastry a crisp, caramelised glaze. Serve warm with coffee or with whipped cream as a dessert.
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