Friday, January 21, 2011

Just One Galette-oh!



Buy Five – Get One Free!! Was the enthusiastic suggestion on the baker’s counter. Well, you can’t have too many Galettes des Rois at this time of year…

Or can you? What do you actually do with these six dinner-plate-size slabs of puff pastry, stuffed with frangipane - a sort of almond paste - and a tiny ceramic SpongeBob (or Bob l’Eponge, as he's known here)?


Because wherever you may roam in France during the month of January, there will be at least six other galettes lying in wait. Not to mention the seventeen you’re already digesting from previous galette-gatherings…

Last week at our house (of course we do it too) I, as the youngest, (YESSSSS!), had to dive under the table with my eyes shut and wave haphazardly at the next person to take a slice, until all slices had been took.

This, apparently, is the traditional way of avoiding Nasty squabbles over the assigning of SpongeBob. For, whoever gets him is King for the Day, and wears the Special Golden Crown (that lurks within every galette bag), and must buy the next six galettes. The next galette, anyway.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be SpongeBob… it could be anything the baker decides to bake therein (generally inanimate). Until the 1960’s (one gleans from this handy link):
http://www.franceinlondon.co.uk/en-Article-392-Origins-and-Recipe-of-the-Galette-des-Rois-Food--Wine--galette-rois.html
the Thing was a real dried bean. Oh...

Happily for those with the Collecting Urge, there are now many, many categories of charm to collect – animals, films, jobs, sports, celebrities and perhaps more aptly, religious figures. For the Galette des Rois (Cake of the Kings) celebrates their Arrival in Bethlehem on Twelfth Night (or Take the Decorations Down time).

When I was a lad in Englandouroldcountry, people would bake not charms, but silver sixpences into the Christmas Pud. Many of which would then be swallowed by their grannies, putting a damper on the entire proceedings.

Back to this Galette, which was a new taste sensation for George and I when we arrived in France. George took to it immediately, and I took to the filling, but does the cake have to be quite so hefty...?

There are fillings other than almond paste - apple is very popular for example, and you can add cinnamon, amaretto, or walnuts as I once did and which was Not At All popular.

The Galettes do seem to be around for Ages - yesterday we mercifully microwaved our last two slices. These were ten days old and still going strong. The excess crust went onto the bird table - an exciting and seemingly welcome addition to their usual toasted wholemeal...

And so, as January nears its end, we wave a merry farewell to all those Galettes des Rois. We heave our tums out of their wheelbarrows and contemplate perhaps yoghurt or a banana, a situp or two, brisk pastry-melting walks...

For this Bombardment started nearly a Month ago - we need to sprrrring bouncily back to life with a hearty Get thee behind me, Spongebob!


It's been twenty-four hours now.

I wonder if there's any left on that bird table...

17 comments:

Canary Islander said...

I think that just one gallete-oh as a dessert after an entrée of the remains of the mouse, and preceded by an hors d'œuvre of a funny hedgehog eating nuts is Irresistible!
:-)

Expat said...

You were a lad? When did you get the operation?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Thank you, gallant CI! And all more appealing than my usual 'Vaguely-Hotpot'...

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat - they're still working on the finish (just a bit of Fine-Tuning)...

JW10 said...

Dolores,

Thanks for informing me of the tradition of the Galettes des Rois. A wonderful custom and the galettes sounds scrumptious. I followed your link and found the legend
"Once the galette is cut, a child hides under the table to give the name of the person that will be served next"
The image of you hiding under the table and surfacing to wave haphazardly will stay with me for some time. I'm still smiling. :-)

Dolores Doolittle said...

Thank you greatly, JW. It was handy that I'm able to Stand Up under the table and not bang my head

Expat said...

Dolores, check the Canary Archive blog....

JW10 said...

Dolores, you must be a great limbo dancer.

Dolores Doolittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dolores Doolittle said...

He he, JW, but I'll have you know that I AM! And my Twisting Again is unsurpassed...

Bilby said...

Just testing, Dolores (again)

Araminta said...

Ara to Dolores.

We are trying to communicate.

Testing

Dolores Doolittle said...

Bilby, Ara, Hello! The Pigeons are inclement in Luton. But they will fly south this evening - keep watch!!
xx

Canary Islander said...

Hey, what's all this? There's been precious few pigeons this far south. Loads of parrots and kestrels though..
:-)

Dolores Doolittle said...

Just Wait till they get there, CI - Pigeons can be Splendid too!

Anonymous said...

Conseils tres interessants. A quand la suite?

Dolores Doolittle said...

A la galette prochaine, Anonymous!