Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Three Kings Day (Epiphany) - Dreikönigstag

Today, on Januray 6th, is the Three Kings Day, also referred to as the Festival of Epiphany. On this day, which has a very special meaning to our family, it is a time-honored tradition at our house to bake a Galette des Rois (Three Kings Cake).

There are so many cake recipes out there for a Three Kings Cake, but there is no special German recipe for a similar cake and over the years, we have developed a real passion for this delightful French one.
Heute, am 6. Januar, ist Dreikönigstag und dieser Tag hat eine ganz besondere Bedeutung für mich und unsere Familie. Ich wurde in Köln geboren, sozusagen einen Steinwurf vom Schrein der Heiligen Drei Könige entfernt. Deshalb backe ich seit Jahren immer eine Galette des Rois (Dreikönigskuchen).
Es gibt zwar unzählige Rezepte für diesen besonderen Kuchen, leider jedoch kein traditionelles deutsches Rezept. Über die Jahre haben wir deshalb ein echtes Faible für den reizenden französischen Dreikönigskuchen entwickelt.




Epiphany is widely celebrated in Europe. The French celebration include serving a Galette des Rois at home. This special cake originated in the tiny village of Pithiviers, about eighty kilometers south of Paris, and was brought to the city by Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833) who to this day is considered to be the founder of the haute cuisine concept.

Hidden in the pillow of puff pastry is a delightfully moist almond cream. And much to the delight of our children and guests, hidden inside the almond cream, there is a small porcelain figurine.
Der Dreikönigstag wird in vielen Ländern Europas gefeiert. In Frankreich wird an diesem Tag gern ein "Galette des Rois" gegessen. Dieser Kuchen stammt aus einem Dorf namens Pitviers, welches ungefähr 80 Kilometer von Paris enfernt ist. Der berühmte Koch Marie Antoine Carême (1784-1833) hat seinerzeit das Rezept für diesen Kuchen nach Paris gebracht.

Es handelt sich um einen Blätterteigkuchen, der mit Frangipane gefüllt ist. Zur großen Freude unserer Kinder und Gäste wird - und das ist das Besondere an diesem Kuchen - in der Füllung eine kleine Figur aus Porzellan, eine sogenannte fève oder santon (Bohne), versteckt.




Calling Cologne my hometown and having named three of our children after the Three Wise Men, on this special day, we always enjoy this lovely cake but also make sure to pay a visit to the Cologne Cathedral to once again marvel at the golden Shrine of the Three Kings (created by the goldsmith Nikolaus von Verdun, 1190-1125).

The Shrine is a reliquary said to contain the bones of the Three Wise Men (also referred to as The Magi). The relics of the Three Wise Men were brought from Milan to Cologne on July, 23, 1164. The shrine is a large gilded and decorated triple sarcophagus placed above and behind the high altar of the Cologne Cathedral. It is considered the high point of Mosan art and the largest reliquary in the western world.

Epiphany is still celebrated as a religious holiday in the City of Cologne. On this day, visitors flock to the Cologne Cathedral to honor the Three Wise Men that are so closely connected with the city - if you take a look at the Coat of Arms of Cologne, you will notice three distinctive crowns symbolizing the Three Wise Men.
Drei unserer Kinder haben wir nach den Heiligen Drei Königen benannt, weshalb an diesem besonderen Tag nicht nur ein oder zwei Dreikönigskuchen gebacken werden, sondern wir besuchen an diesem Tag auch immer den Dreikönigsschrein im Kölner Dom.

Der Dreikönigsschrein im Kölner Dom ist ein Reliquiar, welches der Aufbewahrung der Gebeine dient, die Erzbischof Rainald von Dassel am 23. Juni 1164 von Mailand nach Köln brachte und die in der römisch-katholischen Kirche als die Reliquien der Heiligen Drei Könige verehrt werden. Dieser Schrein gilt als das größte und künstlerisch anspruchsvollste Reliquiar, das aus dem Mittelalter erhalten ist. Er wurde zwischen 1190 und 1225 durch den Goldschmied Nikolaus von Verdun gefertigt.

Der Dreikönigstag ist in vielen Ländern Europas noch heute ein Feiertag. Auch in der Stadt Köln, die so eng mit den Heiligen Drei Königen verbunden ist, wird der drei Weisen aus dem Morgenland mit speziellen Gottesdiensten und Feierlichkeiten gedacht.




"When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:10-11)
"Als sie den Stern sahen, wurden sie hocherfreut und gingen in das Haus und fanden das Kindlein mit Maria, seiner Mutter, und fielen nieder und beteten es an und taten ihre Schätze auf und schenkten ihm Gold, Weihrauch und Myrrhe." (MT 2:10-11)




Galette des Rois
(Three Kings Cake)


Ingredients
  • 500 grams (17 1/2 ounces) good quality store-bought puff pastry (of course, feel free to make your own puff pastry)
Ingredients for the Filling
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) superfine (caster) sugar
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla sugar (homemade or store bought)
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk (L), organic or free range
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) ground natural almonds 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) AP (plain) flour
  • some egg wash (egg mixed with a bit of water)
Optional Addition to the Filling
  • Small porcelain figurine/whole almond/bean or coin wrapped tightly in a small piece of aluminium foil
Ingredients for the Glaze
  • some apricot jam (strained)
  • 60 grams (2 ounces) flaked almonds
Galette des Rois
(frz. Dreikönigskuchen)


Zutaten
  • 500 Gramm fertigen Blätterteig (man kann natürlich auch Blätterteig selbst herstellen)
Zutaten für die Füllung
  • 100 Gramm ungesalzene Butter, Zimmertemperatur
  • 100 feinster Backzucker
  • 2 TL Bourbon Vanille-Zucker (selbstgemacht oder gekauft)
  • eine Prise feines Meersalz
  • 1 Eigelb (L), Bio- oder Freiland
  • 100 Gramm Mandeln, gemahlen
  • 1/2 TL gemahlener Zimt
  • 30 Gramm Weizenmehl
  • etwas Eierstreiche (ein Ei mit etwas Wasser verquirlt)
Wahlweise
  • eine kleine Porzellanfigur oder eine ganze Mandel oder eine kleine Münze, die man in Alufolie gewickelt hat
Zutaten für die Glasur
  • etwas Aprikosenmarmelade (durch ein Sieb gestrichen)
  • 60 Gramm Mandelblättchen



Preparation of the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the pastry and cut two 26-28 cm (10-11 inches) circles. Chill while preparing the filling.
  4. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt until creamy, light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg yolk and beat for three minutes.
  6. Whisk together the ground almonds, the cinnamon, and the flour.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  8. Place one of the pastry circles on the prepared baking sheet and brush a 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) border of egg wash around the edge of the pastry circle.
  9. Place the filling in the center, keeping it inside the egg wash border. NOTE: If you would like to add a figurine, nut, bean or coin, do it now by gently pushing it into the filling and procced with the recipe.
  10. Top with the second pastry circle.
  11. Crimp around the edge with your fingertips or use the tines of a fork.
  12. Use the dull side of a knife to lightly mark lines on top of the pastry.
  13. Brush with beaten egg wash.
  14. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until both base and top are baked and transfer to a wire rack.
  15. While the Galette is still warm, brush top and sides with apricot glaze and sprinkle sides/border with flaked almonds.
Zubereitung der Galette
  1. Den Ofen auf 180 Grad Celsius vorheizen.
  2. Ein Backblech mit Backpapier auslegen.
  3. Auf einer bemehlten Fläche den Blätterteig dünn ausrollen und zwei Kreise  (26-28 cm) ausschneiden. In den Kühlschrank stellen.
  4. Für die Mandelfüllung die Butter, den Zucker, Vanillezucker und Salz schaumig schlagen.
  5. Das Eigelb hinzufügen und zirka drei Minuten weiter schlagen.
  6. Die gemahlenen Mandeln mit Dem Zimt und dem Mehl mischen.
  7. Die Mehlmischung zu der Buttermischung geben, gut verrühren.
  8. Einen Blätterteigkreis auf das mit Backpapier belegte Backblech legen, dabei einen Rand von ca. 4 cm mit dem verquirlten Ei bestreichen.
  9. Darauf gleichmäßig die Mandelfüllung verstreichen, dabei rundherum den 4 cm Rand frei lassen. TIPP: Wenn man einen Glücksbringer in die Füllung stecken möchte, sollte man das jetzt machen, dabei die gewünschte Figur oder Nuss ein wenig in die weiche Mandelmasse drücken.
  10. Mit der zweiten Hälfte des Blätterteigs den Kuchen bedecken.
  11. Den Teig an den Rändern andrücken. Es soll eine Art Kuppel entstehen, überschüssigen Teig abschneiden.
  12. Mit der stumpfen Seite eines Messers den Teigdeckel verzieren, dabei den Teig nicht einschneiden.
  13. Die Galette mit dem restlichen verquirlten Ei bestreichen,
  14. Den Kuchen ca. 40 bis 45 Minuten backen, auf einem Kuchenrost etwas erkalten lassen.
  15. Die noch warme Galette aprikotieren und mit den Mandelblättchen bestreuen.



Of course, the person who finds the small porcelain figurine in his or her piece of cake gets to wear the golden paper crown that is placed on top of the cake after it has cooled and been glazed with some apricot jam. The person who gets the fève (meaning "bean") becomes King or Queen for a day!
Derjenige, der die kleine fève oder santon in seinem Stück Kuchen findet, wird für diesen Tag zum König oder Königin ernannt. Deswegen bekommt man in Frankreich vom Bäcker immer eine goldene Papierkrone, wenn man eine Galette des Rois kauft.




The above recipe for the Galette des Rois (Three Kings Cake) was inspired by a recipe that was given to me by one of my friends many, many years ago - may I add, after much begging on my part.
Mein Rezept für die Galette des Rois (frz. Dreikönigskuchen) wurde von einem Rezept inspiriert, das mir eine Freundin vor vielen Jahren und erst nach langem Betteln meinerseits gegeben hat.




22 comments:

  1. Dear Andrea - your Gallette des Rois is beautiful, and I love your fèves! I got the fève at last nights 12th night dinner, so I get to host next year. You have cooked and baked up a storm this holiday season - I hope you get some rest soon! Liebe Grüße, David

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    Replies
    1. David, this day is always a special day around here. Being from Cologne and all and the kids just adore all those "Santons" - we are trying to collect a few. Bought one "shepherdess" in Belgium last week and added it to one of the cakes.
      Thank you for your kind words, Andrea

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  2. What a beautiful cake, Andrea. Many people in our country prepare them but with a sweet icing on top. Your version sounds absolutely delicious. Wishing you and your lovely family all the best in this new year.

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    1. Karen, thank you for your wonderful comment! The recipe I use each and every year hails from one of my girlfriends - it is just the best - simple, yet utterly divine. Our kind of cake. But I also tried a second version with apples and hazelnuts this year. Also extremely good.
      Nice to keep those traditions alive,
      Andrea

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  3. A strikingly beautiful story Andrea, as is the Cologne Cathedral, and your Galette des Rois.

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    1. Thank you, dear Peggy - special days call for special treats!

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  4. Such a beautiful cathedral, Andrea. Thank you for that lovely story too. Your galette des rois looks so perfect and
    delicious. I made a small one also and Tricia was lucky enough to find the "feve". Such fun, everyone enjoyed this
    little celebration. Happy New Year.

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    1. Rosemary, I always enjoy your visits to my blog so very much! Thank you for all your kind comments and thoughts and wishes!
      Hope you and hubby had a fabulous and healthy start to the New Year!
      Andrea

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  5. Love, love, loved this post. I thought I knew about the Festival of Epiphany since, several years ago, I had been in Sanary sur Mer for the celebration, the cake and the parade. Your background information certainly enhanced what I knew. Your cake is beautiful and has to taste heavenly. Who found the little figure (I cannot remember, was it baby Jesus?). Who was the queen? And, I didn't realize three of your girls were named after the wise men. I hope you had a wonderful day. You certainly provide special experiences for your family, Andrea.

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    1. Mray, I must admit that I always add more than one fève to the cake...so each and every child around our table gets one, guaranteed...just do not enjoy those sad faces...stretching tradition a bit, I guess...
      Hope you had a great start to the New Year!
      We are gearing up for many interesting projects around here...
      Andrea

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  6. Your galettes des Rois are beautiful! I love the history and stories you shared about the day, too. The feast day is not really observed here, though there are always masses in the Catholic church. It sounds like a very special day for your family, so it's fitting that you've got such a special recipe to celebrate with.

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    1. Teresa, thank you kindly - there is just something about those Galettes des Rois...they are adorabkle looking and taste wonderful and so much marvelous food history about them...
      Hope you and Kevin had a happy and healthy start to the New Year!
      Andrea

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  7. absolutely stunning.
    these photos were emotional for me.
    such amazing beauty. such joy your camera captures.
    xx love and appreciation from MN.

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    1. Kim, you are the best!
      Thank you! And hope you had a fabulous start to another eventful year! Looking forward to readng all your fabulous blog posts again!
      Andrea

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  8. What beauiful galette des rois Andrea!! Look absolutely wonderful!!
    Love the pictures look amazing!!
    Happy new year!!!
    xoxoxo

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    1. Dear Gloria, thank you very much for your wonderful comment!
      Hope you had a smashing start to the New Year!
      Andrea

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  9. This kings cake is stunning, Andrea. I don't think I have the skill to make it and you made TWO!
    Beautiful post, as usual. xo

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    1. Colette, this is one easy cake to make - the kids love both versions (almond cream & apple) and so do I...a bit of food traditin never hurt...and I make it every year. Even when it is not Epiphany...
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Andrea

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  10. First al all...Happy New Year Andrea!
    This three king cake looks awesome, I love the idea of ground almond and the richness of it...I would love to enjoy a slice of this cake with coffee or tea and can see myself savoring each bite with joy. Beautifully done my dear.
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

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    1. And a very Happy New Year to you, Juliana! Hope it has gotten off to a fabulous start!
      Thank you for your wonderful and kind words! I always appreciate all your comments tremendously, dea friend!
      Andrea

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  11. What a beautiful cake and what a lovely story to go with it. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year .

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    1. Gerlinde, the same to you an dyour family! Hope you had a marvelous start to the new year 2016!
      May the ney year bring nothing but happiness & health & fabulous food!
      Andrea

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