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  For the month of December, Kat challenged us to make Gateaux Pithiviers. 

Yep, I’m late!
It’s the second day of January and I am posting this December challenge for Daring Bakers.
Daring Bakers is an online baking group I joined back in 2009. I have enjoyed baking with this amazing group who have taught me the intricacies of macarons and croquembouche as well as taking me baking to Palestine, Hungary, France and Austria just to name a few. Over the years I have noticed the members participation start to wane a little. I too, find it sometimes difficult to complete a challenge and post every month. But I am not giving up just a little late!
If you enjoy a baking and cooking challenge please head over to the Daring Bakers and join us!

So this time, it was back to puff pastry. I can tell you in the heat of a tropical summer this is no easy feat. The freezer becomes my best friend…in goes the dough, board and rolling pin…the whole lot…it’s the only way.
With this homemade puff pastry we made a delicious French pastry Gateaux Pithivier also called King’s Cake with a small token traditionally baked into the almond filling. Whoever gets the token in their slice is King for the Day!

Kat supplied a recipe but gave us free reign to use our own puff pastry recipe if we preferred. In a previous Daring Bakers challenge hosted by Steph of Whisk and a Spoon the puff pastry recipe was by Michel Richard as the recipe appears in Baking with Julia. Watch with video as Michel demonstrates the recipe.

I just used the freezer to keep everything very cold in the hope to combat the ferocious heat we have been experiencing.

I used half of the dough to roll out and cut two 9 inch rounds for the Gateaux. The remainder is chilling in the freezer until I decide what I will make with it.

This is the recipe for the Frangipane however I found it not firm enough so added a little more ground almond and a spoonful of plain flour. For this purpose I think the frangipane should be refrigerated overnight so that it firms up.

1½ cups blanched almonds ( which I weighed to be 225g), toasted
⅓ – ½ cup (65-100g) granulated sugar, depending on your sweetness preference
4 Tbsp. (55g) butter
2 large eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. almond extract
zest from 1 lemon or ½ an orange or 2 tangerines
2 Tbsp. Armangac or Rum.

To make the frangipane, grind the almonds. Mix the ground almonds with the remaining ingredients. If necessary, add a little more almond meal to thicken to that the paste can be shaped into a 6″ disc. It will be fairly loose. Chill at least 30 minutes.

PReheat the oven to 180C/350F

Spoon enough of the frangipane in the centre of your round leaving about 1 inch of dough all around. Brush the dough with egg wash and centre the second round of dough over the frangipane and press firmly to seal.

With a small sharp knife cut a decorative pattern on the pastry only cutting  partly through the dough. With the back of your knife mark all around the edges to give a scalloped effect.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until well risen and browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and place under a grill to caramelize and brown the sugar giving a glossy surface.

A celebration always requires cake!  I have been admiring cakes…
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