When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

Galette des Rois February 26, 2009

galette-loLike, what happened? How did I manage to make a pastry that grew tumours?

This is supposed to be a Galette des Rois, an almond-cream-filled pastry the French traditionally eat around Christmas. Taken from Young Mo Kim’s A Collection Of Fine Baking, this recipe had me making the puff pastry by hand to achieve a monumental 144 layers. But after the absolute torment I went through, I couldn’t care less how many layers it had. I just wanted to run away and never see it again.

I’ll spare you the details (like how the dough was so rubbery, trying to roll it out was harder than getting my husband Z to change the bedsheets).

galette-cu-lo1Because the highlight of this experience was how, after popping it in the oven for 5 minutes, the butter in the dough melted and gathered into a pool on the baking tray – thereafter  frying the pastry.

Then, after another 10 minutes, the almond filling followed suit, growing, bubbling, mutating into three menacing globs – like unwanted, out-of-control appendages. In fact, if aliens were taking over Earth, I’ll call Will Smith and tell him that ground-zero is the oven in my kitchen.

Even more infuriating, the damn thing refused to be cooked. After baking for one whole hour, only the outer layers were turned a crisp golden yellow. The inside remained disgustingly gummy. Then again, it didn’t matter either way because the texture was so hard I could barely cut through it.

It may not look it in the photo (left, because my Z is a wizard with his lenses), but this thing nearly took out a tooth.

I felt like whipping out my mobile and putting it next to the baking tray. I want this E.T. to phone and go home.


6 Responses to “Galette des Rois”

  1. tellaure Says:

    if it’s any consolation … the second picture looks incredible. love the lighting and how the the pastry looks so yellow in the middle and golden brown on the surface.

    i’ve never move past the first fold (or whatever those pros call it) of making puff pastry. when i try to row it, the dough tears and the butter gets squished out. -random vulgarities-

    but the picture is really pretty!

  2. crummb Says:

    YES!!! the butter squishing out nearly drove me INSANE!!! i am soooo glad someone out there understands what i went through. i am NEVER making this again. easier to just stick with cakes. btw, midear, you just made the photographer’s day… and i will still get his services for free – at least for a while more – thanks! 🙂

    ps: you seem to bake A LOT. do you have a blog? i wanna see your stuff!

  3. Stef Says:

    Pau Lin…I recall my first squishing,that was dodgy! Until I learnt that in our hot humid weather, puff pastry must be made on a slab of marble, in an air-conditioned room and with butter that is not fridge cold, but still..cold enough that it shouldn’t squish out. At first sign of squishing,send it into the freezer and sip a lemon tea (or vodka if you are feeling faint from all that rolling!) for a few minutes before resuming.

    Marble not a must, but air con is! Sweaty hands is a no-no too heh heh…

  4. crummb Says:

    really?! no wonder laaaa! it was so traumatising i swear i will just BUY puff pastry for the rest of my life! thanks for the tip – but still i’m not persuaded to ever try it again. 🙂

  5. Sooch Says:

    I had the same butter-frying-my-dough experience when I made ‘croissants’ (can’t bring myself to insult the real thing) many years back. It was so terrible I never tried it again. Yah you need air-con or constant dancing between kitchen counter and fridge. Chris would know, he recently made some real decent croissants!

  6. crummb Says:

    i had chris’ croissants! they were FAB! totally the real thing! funny, i didn’t know he had an air-con kitchen? must have danced double-quick time between the counter and the fridge then. bravo!

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