Since it's Mardi Gras (happy Mardi Gras!!), I figured I would take this opportunity (the last one this year) to make a Galette des Rois, which is French for 'King Cake' (they're served as part of tradition for people who celebrate the Feast of Epiphany, which is on January 6th each year).
Here are the ingredients:
1/8 cup almond paste
1/8 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
dash of salt
splash of vanilla extract
splash of almond extract
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp flour
1 package puff pastry sheets, defrosted in the refrigerator at least 2 or 3 hours
A bean, if you like (see note below)
**Note: if you like, you can put a dried bean in the galette, as is custom. You don't have to, but if you want to, it's a nice touch. Let anyone that enjoys it know that the bean is *somewhere* inside, and that whoever finds it is king!
Preheat the oven to 450*. Get out a bowl or small plate to use as a template, and also fix a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Mix together the almond paste, sugar, butter, and salt until it's completely smooth - then add half the beaten egg and both extracts.
Keep mixing until it's all very smooth and worked through.
Add the flour and mix until incorporated, but not much longer than that.
Take the puff pastry out and unfold onto a floured surface. Take a regular-size bowl or small plate and trace around it with a sharp knife:
...do that twice, so you have two circles of puff pastry the same size:
Put the first circle on a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper and put in the refrigerator while you work on the other circle. Take a sharp knife and make a pretty design in the pastry. You'll also want to make some slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape. I made this sunburst design, but you can really do whatever you like:
Brush the top of this circle with some of the beaten egg that's left:
Take the bottom circle back out of the refrigerator, and with a spoon or brush, put plenty of beaten egg around the outside rim. Leave plenty of room for the filling:
Now, mound the almond filling mixture right in the middle of that bottom circle (if you're adding a bean, now's the time to put it into the filling):
Put the top circle atop the bottom one, and sort-of pinch and press together the outside of both circles so they join well:
Next, place it in the oven (450*) for about 12-15 minutes. Because of the egg wash, it will turn a really nice shade of brown. Just be careful that it not get too brown too quickly:
It really turned out nice! Yum!