Today it’s the 6th of January: Epiphany!
For this day we are used to prepare a traditional cake, but today I (had to) modified my original recipe as I did not have puff pastry at home. I’m fascinated by the result, the filling was delicious but the upper crust is the best part: very thin crunchy sheets!
I made the substitution by a thin dough base and a top crust consists on a long dough band brushed with melted butter, rolled, sliced to disks and rolled out to disks forming something like a roll-puff-pastry.
For the dough I used my kitchen-aid and to roll out the thin band for the upper crust I used the Italian pasta machine. It was quite easy, but the preparation took 60 minutes.
After baking the great moment: cooling down near my nativity set in the garden! THE best place for this royal cake!
This cake is a French, Western Swiss and Canadian (Quebec) recipe served on Epiphany (January 6th) and is traditionally topped with a gold crown. The one who finds the hidden charm (or bean) in their slice gets to wear the crown! The twelfth Night cake was born from a disagreement which matched bakers against pastry cooks in the 15th century. Each of them wanted to obtain the monopoly of the manufacture of the symbolic cake. Pastry-cooks are won. But Ce furent les pâtissiers qui l’emportèrent auprès du roi François 1er. But bakers could do something. Bakers played on the words: they invented the twelfth Night cake, which they offered to their customers the Epiphany’s day. Each twelfth Night cake hides a charm. Who find the charm in his portion should offer the same twelfth Night cake (which he must pay) to other present persons. (1)
Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. (2)
Sources and additional info:
- 200 g flour
- 1 egg
- 65 ml water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 40 g butter, melted
- 150 ml milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 100 g sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- 200 g almond paste, chopped
- 1 charm (plastic king or bean)
- Combine with the food processor (or in a bowl by hand) flour, egg, water and salt.
- Work (or knead by hand) until smooth and elastic. This takes about 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into two portions.
- Roll out the first portion to cover a 26 cm baking mold letting 1 cm additional border. Place the dough into the greased mold.
- Roll out the dough to a long band about 12 cm wide. I used the pasta machine and made to long bands of 1.5 m!
- Brush the band with the melted butter and roll it tightly forming a cylinder.
- Place the dough into the fridge to chill (or outside if winter!).
- To make the filling, combine milk, butter, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch. Add the 2 lightly beaten eggs (reserve a teaspoon) and mix until well blended.
- Cook in a pot at low heat stirring continually until it thickens or prepare this in the microwave stopping from time to time to stir it (I prefer to prepare this in the microwave).
- Now take from the heat away, add the chopped almond paste. Stir until the almond paste is partially dissolved.
- Pour the filling in the prepared dough into the mold.
- Place your plastic king (or bean) in the filling. Flip the borders over the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- In the meantime take the chilled dough and cut 8-9 disks.
- Roll out (you may need little flour) the disk to a diameter of about 10 cm.
- Place the disk on the filling overlapping them. Place the last disk in the center.
- Glaze the top with reserved teaspoon egg mixed with one teaspoon water.
- Bake for about 40 minutes until golden.
- Let cool down completely before serving.