Updated: Feb 1
How lovely to see you here on my blog. Well, this is different, isn’t it! Continuing on from the success of the ESB Monthly Bake, this year I am going to write down my ideas, thoughts and recipes for you. Come along with me to see how I spend 2017 and take a peek into what makes my tuneful baking mind tick.
Three Sundays ago, we welcomed the new year and although I was honestly quite pleased to leave the old year behind, it always heralds the arrival of the post Christmas blues with no more twinkling lights or festive fun. Back to the humdrum of daily life, without the extra sparkle.
For me recipe wise, January always makes me think of warming puddings that lighten up the endless dark evenings and make it a tad easier. Last year for the ESB Monthly Bake January I recreated one of my favourite puddings, apple strudel, but in an easy version with bought puff pastry. Crunching through layers of crisp pastry as a treat really can lift the spirits (trust me!)
Simple Apple Strudel
You can see the video below with a collection of songs from one of favourite musicals, The Sound of Music.
To bake it yourself, click here!
Watch on YouTube – ESB Monthly Bake – JANUARY
This year, however, I am excited for the year to get going as I am making a trip to France early in 2017. It got me wondering and made me want to research which bakes are traditional for the French cuisine at this time of year.
After rifling through various blog posts and websites, the one recipe that stood out for me was Galette des Roi. A galette is described as a flat round cake of pastry or bread and comes in a variety of different ways but this one is filled with sweet almond frangipane. In France, it is traditionally served on the feast of Epiphany, January 6th, when the wise men visited Jesus and offered him their gifts. It’s another bake that is full of expectation and excitement and there are many traditions that surround it. One being that a feve (now a small figure made of porcelain, or in the past, as the word in translation suggests, a dried bean) is placed somewhere in the frangipane during baking and whoever gets the piece with it in is named King or Queen for the day. They even get the privilege of wearing a gold cardboard crown (which incidentally comes with the cake when you buy it!). Other traditions include an extra slice of the galette being cut and put aside as a pauper’s piece in case a stranger comes by. More modern traditions include more popular culture images, such as cartoons, being used in the packaging and bringing the traditional crown and figure into the 21st century (see the photo below!)
There are two types of French King Cake. The northern recipe Galette des Roi is puff pastry and almond or fruit filling. The southern equivalent, Gateau des Roi is a brioche bread ring covered in coloured sugar and candied fruit which mirror the colours and shape of a crown.
The tradition of ‘King Cake’ is not confined to France either as there are many different varieties in other countries around the world. Even in New Orleans, a similar type of cinnamon-roll brioche ring is served covered in coloured icing!
So, to conclude my first ever post, I recommend you to bake something that makes you and those around you feel good. To escape the world outside and travel to a world of warmth and cosiness. (Possibly with a helping of pastry!)
I plan to post every month and possibly more so keep up to date with my latest updates on Twitter and Instagram. Let me know if you bake anything to make yourself feel better by tweeting @EnglishSingingB or @englishsingingbaker on Instagram.
I look forward to seeing you next time for another blog.
English Singing Baker x