Chocolate-Hazelnut Galette des Rois

Season: All | Active Time: 1 hour (not including making the Rough Puff Pastry or Frangipane, Chocolate-Hazelnut Variation) | Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes | Difficulty: 3 (Moderate, if making Rough Puff Pastry) or 2 (Easy, if using store-bought pastry)

Galette des rois is a fancy French dessert that appears in bakeries following the holidays. But, less intimidatingly, you can just think of it as a free-form, double-crust tart made using puff pastry. The filling is typically an almond frangipane, but this chocolate-hazelnut riff feels even more special and tastes extra-delicious, thanks in part to a swipe of chocolate-hazelnut spread on the bottom. Don’t let its association with the holidays deter you from making this impressive, easy-to-prep-ahead-of-time dessert all year long.

Serves 8 to 10

Special Equipment: Food processor (for making the Frangipane)

Rough Puff Pastry (this page) or 2 sheets thawed frozen store-bought puff pastry

All-purpose flour, for rolling out

¼ cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (2.3 oz / 65g) ①

Frangipane, Chocolate-Hazelnut Variation (this page) ②

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet: Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll out the pastry: Remove one piece of pastry from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to lightly beat the dough all across the surface to make it more pliable, then dust the top and underside with more flour and roll out, dusting with more flour as needed, into a round a little larger than 10 inches in diameter.

Transfer the pastry (this will be the top layer) to a dinner plate and refrigerate while you roll out the other piece. Remove the second piece of pastry from the refrigerator and repeat the rolling process. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. (If using thawed frozen store-bought puff pastry, lightly roll out the sheets of pastry on a floured surface to smooth any creases and make sure you have enough clearance to cut a 10-inch round.)

Fill the pastry: ③ Invert a 9-inch cake pan and press it down onto the pastry on the baking sheet to leave a circular impression, making sure it’s centered so you have a ½ inch of clearance all the way around.

Scrape the chocolate-hazelnut spread into the center of the pastry and use a spoon or small offset spatula to spread it in an even layer all the way to the edges of the round. Transfer the chocolate-hazelnut frangipane to a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag and snip a ¾-inch opening.

Starting in the center of the round, pipe the frangipane into a tight spiral that fully covers the chocolate-hazelnut spread. If you run out before you get to the edges of the round, just spread the frangipane in a thinner layer with an offset spatula so it reaches the margins.

Egg wash the pastry and place the second layer on top: Brush the egg over the pastry in a circle around the frangipane. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and drape it gently over the frangipane, making sure there’s overlap all the way around. Press firmly around the edges of the round, carefully eliminating air pockets, to seal the two layers of pastry together.

Trim and seal pastry: Use a wheel cutter or sharp knife to cut around the filled pastry, leaving a ½-inch margin around the frangipane, to make a 10-inch round (you can trace around a 10-inch dinner plate or cake pan if you want it very even). Discard the pastry scraps.

Holding a paring knife upright, press the tip (the dull side, not the blade side) into the cut sides of the pastry to crimp it lightly, working all the way around and spacing the crimps about ½ inch apart. Brush the top of the galette with more egg, then sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and demerara sugar. Use the tip of the paring knife to cut a couple of small vents in the top of the crust.

Chill to firm up: Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill until the pastry is firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake: Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed and the surface is a deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan front to back after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to a serving plate and cutting into slices.

The galette, covered at room temperature, will keep up to 3 days but is best served on the first or second day (the pastry will soften over time). The chocolate-hazelnut frangipane, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, will keep up to 2 days. Let it come to room temperature before using.

① Look for Rigoni di Asiago Nocciolata, an Italian brand of chocolate-hazelnut spread that is very smooth and not too sweet. Of course, Nutella works great, too.

② Use any variation on frangipane that you prefer. You can also omit the chocolate-hazelnut spread.

③ Try to keep the pastry as cold as possible throughout the assembly process to ensure the flakiest result. Return it to the refrigerator as needed if it starts to soften and become difficult to handle.

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