Galette Des Rois

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I’m a bit late to post this Galette Des Rois recipe since it is made on January 6 of each year to celebrate Epiphany. Since a lot of you saw my Instagram story sharing my version, I decided to post it anyway because it’s an incredibly delicious pastry to serve anytime.

I always say that nothing is too hard to make from scratch – and I definitely get teased about that – but this recipe is really easy. All you have to do is create an almond based frangipane filling and then spread it between two store-bought puff pastry sheets that you can cut into a circular or square shape. You can even skip the fancy scoring on top and opt for a simple crosshatch pattern. The scoring is important though to ensure that the puff rises evenly.

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A lot of recipes out there only use almond cream for the filling, but frangipane is traditionally used in most bakeries, which is basically pastry cream and almond cream mixed together with some add-ons like orange zest and rum. I prefer a frangipane filling because it is more creamy, rich, and addictive.

Have you made a Galette des Rois this year? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to add a trinket or a whole almond in the filling – whoever gets it gets to be the queen or king of the day!
Yields one 8″ galette (20cm)

Crust
450g puff pastry (homemade or store-bought) cut into 8″ circles.
Note: If making a 9″ galette, you will need two store-bought puff pastry packages.

Pastry Cream
100ml milk
25g granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
4g cornstarch
10g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

Almond Cream (you will only use half this quantity later)
75g unsalted butter, room temperature
80g granulated sugar
1 medium egg
80g ground almonds
6g cornstarch
15ml rum
Orange zest (half a medium orange)

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
Splash of water

Pastry Cream
1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk with half the sugar and put on medium heat to slowly bring it up to a simmer.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, the rest of the sugar and cornstarch. When the milk is hot (don’t let it boil), very slowly pour it over the egg mixture while whisking constantly and fast to prevent the yolk from curdling.
3. Working quickly, strain the milk-egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat whisking continuously.
4. Cook the pastry cream for 2 minutes until it thickens then remove from the heat, and add the butter cubes one at a time, whisking until fully incorporated, then the vanilla extract.
5. Transfer the pastry cream to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Put aside or store in the fridge if making this a day in advance.

Almond Cream
In a small bowl, cream together the softened butter with the sugar (or use a stand mixer). Mix in consecutively the egg, almond flour, cornstarch and finally the rum.

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a half sheet pan in the oven.
2. Gently roll out the puff pastry to a 3mm-thick rectangle. Using an 8″ cake pan or a lid, cut two rounds of puff pastry with a sharp knife (the top should ideally be about 1cm bigger than the bottom). Pierce with a fork to let steam escape during baking and place them side by side on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until very cold or freeze for a few minutes.
3. To make the frangipane, mix the pastry cream with half of the almond cream (or all of it if making a larger galette) then set aside. Refrigerate the rest of the almond cream for other preparations.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place the bottom dough on the center of the lined baking sheet and pipe the frangipane cream in a spiral shape leaving a 1″ (3cm) edge. Place a nut, bean, or trinket on the edge of the filling.
5. Brush water around the exposed perimeter of the dough, making sure not to touch the edges as this will prevent it from puffing up, then place the second larger circle on top of the cream and press down to seal the edges very well, leaving finger marks.
6. Flip the galette so that the top becomes the bottom (optional for a smoother top) and decorate the side of the galette by making an inward mark with the back of a knife blade. Brush the first layer of egg wash and refrigerate again for at least an hour.
7. Take out the galette, brush a second layer of egg wash and draw a pattern with the tip of a sharp knife. Note: this step is important to ensure that the dough rises evenly; do not cut the puff pastry or it will crack after baking. Poke small holes in the decoration lines in the center and sides.
8. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15 minutes then at 350°F (200°C) for 35-40 minutes, until the galette becomes a deep golden brown color. Serve warm at room temperature.

Olive Oil Cake with Persimmons

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For my birthday last year, my friend and I went to our favorite Italian restaurant in Brooklyn called Lillia. It was 11pm at night, we had ordered two Americanos and a slice of olive oil cake served with whipped cream and fresh persimmons. I still remember the taste of that wonderful cake because not only was it a fond memory, but I was also intrigued by the simplicity of the dessert. It wasn’t fancy at all and tasted like a homemade cake my mom would do – except it had an unexpected hint of olive oil and my favorite fall fruit of all time. I’ve made a couple versions of olive oil cakes since but none of them come close to this fantastic recipe.

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Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes one 9″ (23cm) cake

300ml (1¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
250g (1 cup +2 Tablespoons) granulated sugar; plus more for pan and finishing touch
240g (2 cups) cake flour*
28g (⅓ cup) almond flour or fine-grind cornmeal (I used almond flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
60ml (¼ cup) amaretto, Grand Marnier, or other liqueur
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
60ml (¼ cup) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 small eggs, at room temperature

*Substitute cake flour by sifting together three times 238g (1+3/4 cups) all-purpose flour and 24g (1/4 cup) cornstarch.

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Drizzle bottom and sides of pan with detachable bottom with oil and use your fingers to coat. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and smooth to eliminate air bubbles; coat parchment with more oil. Generously sprinkle pan with sugar and tilt to coat in an even layer; tap out excess (do not skip this step!). Whisk cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps. Stir together liquor, lemon juice, and vanilla in a small bowl.

Using an electric mixer on high speed (use whisk attachment if working with a stand mixer), beat eggs, lemon zest, and 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl until mixture is very light, thick, pale, and falls off the whisk or beaters in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes if using a stand mixer and about 5 minutes if using a hand mixer. With mixer still on high speed, gradually stream in 1¼ cups oil and beat until incorporated and mixture is even thicker. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with amaretto mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Fold batter several times with a large rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of bowl. Gently scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and sprinkle with more sugar.

Place cake in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°F (176°C). Bake until top is golden brown, center is firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 15 minutes.

Run a thin knife around edges of cake and remove ring from pan. Slide cake onto rack and let cool completely. For the best flavor and texture, wrap cake in plastic and let sit at room temperature at least a day before serving.

Halloumi Mint Scones with Heirloom Tomato Spread

Here’s a recipe for crumbly cheesy halloumi scones that are delicious for breakfast or served as a side at the dinner table. Throw in some chopped mint in the dough for a refreshing herbal note and serve hot straight out of the oven. I always eat halloumi cheese with tomatoes, so I was inspired to make the tomato spread on the side. The Heirloom variety is the best because of their complex, wine-like, sweet taste that’s less acidic than the regular ones. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do – Sahtein!

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Scones:
300g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour, cold
15g (1 Tbsp) granulated sugar
15g (3 tsp) baking powder
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
½ lemon zest
¼ cup chopped mint
140g (5oz) grated halloumi
112g cold butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
180ml (3/4 cup) cold buttermilk
1 large egg, cold

Egg wash:
1 small egg
pinch of fine grain sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Add the cold cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Pour the mixture in a large bowl and lightly mix in the grated halloumi.

3. In another bowl, beat the cold buttermilk and egg. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold just until all of the flour has been moistened. Do not overwork the dough. Dump the dough out on to a large piece of parchment paper and gently pat the dough out until it’s a 1″ (2.5cm) thick rectangle.

4. Transfer to a large baking sheet and rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. Cut the dough into 9 squares using a knife and space them out on the baking sheet. You can freeze the dough at this point if you are planning to make these a few days in advance.

5. For the topping, beat together the egg and salt. Lightly brush the tops of the dough with the mixture being careful not to drip on the sides (or it will prevent the scones from rising). Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway, until the scones are golden brown.

6. Rest the scone for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes, Serve warm the same day.

Heirloom Tomato Spread:
1kg (2 LB.) Heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped
50g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
Pinch of crushed red peppers (optional)
Add ins
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp pomegranate syrup

1. In a large saucepan, combine the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt, and crushed red peppers. Set over medium heat and cook uncovered, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until most the tomatoes are glossy and thick and most of the liquid has cooked off, approximately 2 hours.

2. Press through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the tomato skins and stir in the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Let cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Bey to Bay: Cornmeal Peach Whiskey Cake

This is the second post for the Bey to Bay coffee and pastry pairing collaboration project with my dear friend Jeremy Kelley. We grew up on opposite sides of the world (Beirut x Bay Area) but with the same Mediterranean climates and ingredients. Follow along our posts and our hashtag #BeytoBay on Instagram!

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As we head into fall season, this is the last chance to use up perfectly ripe summer fruits. And what better way to end summer than with a boozy fruity cake? I’m such a fan of a simple cake like this one that might seem sophisticated at first but is in fact very easy to put together and I’m sure you’ll be making this again and again with different seasonal fruits. Moist, buttery, with a barely there crunch, it’s a cross between a coffee cake and a cornmeal bread. The peach slices are soaked in whiskey and sugar overnight to infuse the flavors and enhance the peaches’ sweetness. Then they are arranged on top of a whipped cornmeal cake batter and baked until fragrant, golden in color, and the sides barely pulling away from the pan. Serve it warm with great coffee (more on that below), or with some more fresh fruit, whipped cream or maybe even a delicious scoop of crème fraîche ice cream if you’re feeling adventurous.

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We wanted a really special coffee that would take the soft, delicate flavors of the cake to yn,the next level but still be light on the palate. Jeremy went with an Ecuador La Papaya by Sey Coffee, which just opened their new roastery in Bushwick. These beans were grown at some of the highest altitudes on earth, giving them a really unique flavor profile of botanical complexity. Its light pomegranate notes and herbal hints of vanilla and blossom were getting infused the butteriness of the cake’s crumbs and brought out the taste of whiskey. This shift of flavor in your mouth from start to finish made the entire pairing highly addictive. We couldn’t stop wanting more.

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Topping:
4 medium firm peaches (can also sub with other seasonal fruits like 300g of pitted cherries, strawberries, raspberries)
1½ Tbsp whiskey or bourbon
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Cake:
113g unsalted butter, room temperature
160g unbleached all-purpose flour
85g fine cornmeal flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
zest of ½ a small lemon
110g granulated sugar
110g packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp whiskey or bourbon
150ml whole milk, room temperature
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

1. Soak the peach slices in whiskey and sugar for at least 4 hours preferrably overnight. The next day, drain the peaches from their juices and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Butter a 9″ (23cm) round cake pan, butter and flour the pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside. Beat butter with the sugars on medium-high speed until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition and beat in whiskey. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined.
4. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Arrange the peach slices on top, pressing some down into batter. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until edges begin to pull away from pan and top springs back when lightly touched, around 50 minutes.
5. Let cool in the pan for 20 min then carefully turn out onto a wire rack (it’s fragile when warm). Let cool completely before serving.

Cherry Pie spiced with Mahleb

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Baking pie from scratch will test your patience. The pie dough is refrigerated overnight, the cherries are halved, pitted and macerated with sugar, the assembled pie is chilled in the fridge then baked for over an hour for an ultra flaky and fantastically browned finished. And finally – just when you thought that you were going to serve it – you will have to let it sit on the counter for a few hours to set the cherry filling completely. I’m not scaring you away, the process is not as challenging as an elaborate pastry project, but it does require prepping ingredients in advance so it’s a good idea to read this recipe carefully before getting started!

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I used sweet dark cherries for this recipe and a hint of mahleb powder which is completely optional but I was looking for something unique to complement the cherry flavor. Other options include a splash of rum, lemon zest, a hint of cinnamon etc. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors!

Pie Dough: Recipe from Serious Eats
350g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour, cold
25g (2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
5g (1 tsp) kosher salt
280 grams (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
85ml (6 Tbsp) ice cold water

1. Make ice water by combining enough water with ice and have it ready.
2. Cut the butter sticks into cubes and chill if needed.
3. Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine (I usually put it in the fridge at this point to turn it cold).
4. Spread the butter cubes over the flour surface and pulse until the butter is the size of a large pea. Trickle ice water through the tube a tablespoon at a time while pulsing to evenly distribute the water in the mixture until the dough just starts to collect in clumps up the sides of the bowl (the dough will look sandy at this point but holds together when squeezed in the palm of your hands).
5. Tip the dough in a large bowl and get rid of any gooey clumps that usually collect around the blade. Take half of the mixture and wrap in plastic wrap then using a roll pin, roll the plastic packet into a circle about 6″-8″ wide, making sure to roll it very tightly especially around the edges. Repeat with the other half.
6. Chill overnight (8 hours or up to 3 days) or the freezer until later use.

Filling:
925g pitted cherries
100g granulated sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

1 vanilla bean, scrapped
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp cornstarch flour
1 Tbsp ground mahleb
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

Cubes of butter (Roughly ¼ in. or ½ cm)
Egg wash (beat 1 small egg with 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt)
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

1. Mix the pitted cherries with the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cover and let sit overnight in the fridge.
2. The next day, drain the cherries from their juices and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the vanilla bean, lemon zest, cornstarch, ground mahleb, sugar and salt making sure that the vanilla bean paste is evenly distributed. Sprinkle mixture over the strained cherries and toss to combine.
3. Roll out the first disk on a lightly floured surface into a 14″ (35 cm) round for a 9″ (23 cm) pie pan. Wrap dough lightly around a rolling pin and transfer to the pie pan. Gently press dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the dough to allow a 1″ (2.5 cm) overhang. Pour the cherry filling into the pastry shell. Roll out the second pie crust to top the filling and create small slits to allow venting or create a decorative lattice top.
4. Brush the pie crust with the egg wash, dot with small cubes of butter through the lattice crust, sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar. Refrigerate the pie for at least 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC) and place a large baking sheet in the middle rack. Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake for 80-90 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool completely at least a couple of hours on a wire rack before serving.

Tarte Aux Fraises

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My all time favorite classic french dessert made with a buttery, crumbly pâte sucrée then topped with a silky rich vanilla crème pâtissière and delicious strawberries!

Pâte Sucrée (recipe from Hint of Vanilla)
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
112g icing sugar
1g salt
50g eggs whisked (roughly 1 medium egg)
250g all-purpose flour
20g cornstarch

1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and cream together. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the salt and egg. Mix until combined.
2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and cornstarch. Slowly add to the butter mixture while paddle is turning until just incorporated.
3. Remove from the mixer, shape into a large flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).
4. Take out the disk of dough and let it warm up slightly so it is easier to roll out. Lightly dust a work surface with flour (I like rolling it out on a large sheet of parchment paper for easier transfer). Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 3mm and line your 9″/23cm tart tin, then cut the overhanging dough around the edges (If the dough is too soft to work with, pop it in the fridge to harden). Using a fork, prick the surface of the dough to prevent the surface from rising while baking and refrigerate it again until firm.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Crumple up a piece of parchment paper and then smooth it back out again. Place it in your tart tin and fill it with rice or pie weights. Make sure to press it into the corners of the tart.
6. Blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, remove the weighed parchment, and bake for another 10 minutes until the pastry is an even golden color. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Crème Pâtissière
250ml milk
25g granulated sugar
25 granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean scraped and pod saved
17g corn starch
20g butter, cubed at room temperature

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk with the scraped vanilla bean seeds and the pod. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight to intensify the vanilla flavor or proceed to the next step.
2. Whisk in half of the granulated sugar in the saucepan and put on a stovetop on medium heat to slowly bring it up to barely a simmer.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch. When the milk is hot (don’t let it boil), very slowly pour it over the egg mixture while whisking constantly and fast to prevent the yolks from curdling.
4. Working quickly, strain the milk-egg mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into the saucepan and cook on medium heat whisking continuously.
5. Cook the pastry cream for 2 minutes until it thickens then remove from the heat, and add the butter one at a time, whisking until fully incorporated.
6. Transfer the pastry cream to a glass container and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Store in the fridge to cool completely.

Assembly:
Take out the cooled pastry cream and give a quick stir to make it homogeneous and spreadable. Spread it on the pâte sucrée and top it off with thinly sliced strawberries or any summer fruit of your choice!