6 January 2017
Misty with very fine rain. Not a lot of light today
By the 6th January, many Brits are feeling depressed (apparently) - the cake is eaten, the turkey just a carcass in the overflowing bins, the rellies have gone home and we have binged at the Sales. However, in many countries this is an exciting date because it heralds the arrival of the Three Kings.
In Spain, there is quite a debate raging regarding whether Santa Claus is displacing the traditional Three Kings. The truth is that Santa Claus is becoming more and more commen but even familities who sign up with 'Papa Noel' usually keep their accounts open with the Kings.
As for the Kings themselves, they continue to arrive on schedule every year to villages, towns and cities throughout Spain to make the annual parade which is known as Cabalgata. This starts at dusk on the 5 January. Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar are magically able to appear simultaneously throughout the country and they don't come empty handed. They process on floats and throw handfuls of sweets to the waiting children. The same night, children leave out their shoes to receive gifts.
It is also traditional for families to set up a nativity scene in their homes or gardens and move the images of the wise men closer and closer to Bethlehem over the Christmas season. The idea is to have them arrive at the stable right on the 6 January.
Ten facts about the Feast of the Epiphany
|A Coruna town hall|
|Large model railway|
|More railway with firefighter tower|
|Basque bits - ikastola is a college and Txistorra is a dish. Euskal is basque for Basque|
If you fancy running yourself up a traditional gallette des rois, here is Raymond Blanc's recette
To cut out the pastry
Using metal rings or plates as guides, cut out a 20cm round from one pastry sheet for the base, and a 22cm round from the other for the top. Place on a tray and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (*3). Any excess pastry can be kept for other use.
To make the almond cream
In a large bowl, whisk the butter, icing sugar, ground almonds, whole egg, egg yolk and rum or Cognac together to a smooth paste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
To make the galette
Spoon the almond cream onto the centre of the puff pastry base. Using a palette knife, spread the cream evenly over the pastry, leaving a clear 2cm margin around the edge.
Brush the pastry rim with beaten egg yolk and carefully drape the other puff pastry circle neatly over the top. Press the pastry edges gently together to seal and expel all air, using your fingers and thumb. Cover loosely with a sheet of greaseproof paper and refrigerate or freeze for 1 hour to firm up the pastry before finishing (*4).
To finish the galette
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and place a baking stone or baking tray inside to heat up. Using a sharp knife, trim the edge of the galette to neaten. With the back of the knife, crimp the edge of the pastry all around (*5).
For the glaze
Lightly beat the egg, egg yolk and cream together until evenly blended. Brush the galette with the glaze.
Now, using the back of a knife, score a spiral of curved rays starting from the centre of the galette and extending right to the edge. Alternatively, you could simply criss-cross the top of the galette with the knife.
To bake the galette
Carefully slide the galette onto the preheated baking stone or tray in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Carefully lift the galette onto a wire rack and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
And of course, what else could song in my head be?