On January 6th, in Belgium and France, we celebrate Epiphany by eating the "gateau des rois". In general, the cake is a "galette" with almond cream inside (frangipane). In my hometown though, the recipe for this cake is different: it is exactly the same as for the cougnou I already wrote about. We all love it. Do not forget to hide a "trinket" inside the dough before baking it. Usually it is a porcelain figure, but a dried bean will equally do the work. The person who picks the part of the cake with the trinket inside will be king or queen for a day (and wear the crown).
gateau des rois (en pate cougnou)
320 gr unbleached all-purpose flour (2 cups)
15 gr d active dry yeast (3 ts)
15 cl milk (2/3 cup)
1/2 ts salt
50 gr sugar (1/4 cup)
75 gr butter (2/3 stick)
optional: raisins, pearl sugar*, or chocolate chips
egg wash: 1 egg + 1 tbs water
* I usually buy my pearl sugar in Belgium; you can also buy it on line
1. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk and let stand for 10 min.
2. In a large bowl, sift the flour and make a fountain.
3. In the middle of the fountain, add salt, sugar, egg, butter (softened but not melted) and the yeast dissolved in warm milk.
4. Knead vigorously until you obtain a smooth and elastic dough. You can add a little bit of flour if the dough sticks to your hands.
5. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. The dough should double in size.
6. Work the dough again (slightly) and add the raisins and/or the pearl sugar (traditional option) or the chocolate chips (not traditional).
7. Put it on a baking dish covered with parchment paper.
8. Let rise a second time about 1/2 hour.
9. Preheat the oven to 360F/180C.
10. Brush the cake with egg wash.
11. Bake for 20' or until the cake is golden brown.
12. After cooking, spread a mixture of sugar and water on the surface with a brush.