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Kitchen Project #009: Chocolate Custard
Enter the double chocolate galette des rois
Welcome to another edition of Kitchen Projects, a recipe and development journal by me, Nicola Lamb.
Today’s (and this weeks) edition is a bit of a quickie… and its all about chocolate custard and how to build your very own double chocolate Galette Des Rois. I know, I know, I’m a bit late for the GDR-train but… you know what? I think you’ll find a way to forgive me once you taste this custard.
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How about some chocolate on your chocolate?
Well, well, well. Here we are again… and so soon!
Shall we pick up where we left off?
A couple of days ago I gave you guys the lowdown on all things cocoa puff related and today I’m back to break-down the technique on how you can make your very own chocolate custard x galette des rois baby.
I know I’m late on this. The official deadline for Galette Des Rois (‘King cake’ classically made for epiphany festival in France) has kind of passed. But since the choc/custard galette is a bit subversive, I don’t feel too bad about being a week late. And you shouldn’t feel bad about eating it after the 6th Jan. Trust me, you’re going to love this.
Background on the King cake
If you aren’t familiar with Galette Des Rois, let me quickly fill you in: A trad GDR is a beautiful marriage of puff pastry and frangipane. To make it, you first cut two discs of rolled out puff pastry. These are sealed together with a hefty helping of frangipane inside. The whole glorious thing is then egg washed (usually several times for max drama and golden looks), scored and baked.
It’s not that I don’t love the OG - it’s obviously a classic for a reason - I just really fancied something different this year. Back in January 2020, a few pastry chefs and I all got together and brought different takes on galette des rois. My friend Shelley - an incredible pastry chef - made a chocolate and praline GDR. It was absolutely insane. Terri - the owner of Happy Endings (where I was working at the time) - also made a cocoa number with a chocolate cremeux in the middle. Both of these chocolate GDRs have stuck with me.
And I promise, if you follow the recipe below, it’ll stick with you too.
Soo.. about chocolate custard
For my take, I decided to make a chocolate pastry cream. I wanted something comfortingly pudding like to accompany the crisp, dark chocolate puff pastry. This pastry cream uses the addition of cocoa and milk chocolate, making it a properly delicious all-rounder of a custard.
Mastering pastry cream and learning how to adapt it for different flavours is a great skill to hone. Today I’ll give you my chocolate pastry cream recipe - you could definitely adapt this to use something like nutella, or biscoff if you wanted. That being said, my advice to you is to think about what the ‘original’ state of your mix-in is.
For example, chocolate is hard/firm and therefore it will help the pastry cream to set-up hard/firm! Nutella, on the other hand, is pliable and soft, so you might want to up your cornflour a little bit to make sure it sets up to your liking.
You also need to think about what is IN your adapting ingredient. Nutella, or something similar, usually has quite a lot of oil or emulsifiers in. Since you are adding it into a HOT base (the pastry cream) you have to think about whether it might unforgivably split up.
For this chocolate pastry cream, the addition of chocolate actually helps my final product to be much firmer, more stable and easier to pipe! win-win.
My advice? Go small. Start with a small % and then see how it works. You can always add more in later. And remember, a kitchen notebook is pretty much your best friend.
The GDR technique
For this non-traditional GDR, we’ll use a non-traditional (and I daresay much easier) technique. Rather than building the galette and baking it whole, you simply need to bake a circle of puff and then assemble everything afterwards. Controversial? Yes. Delicious? Big yes.
For max contrast between the puff pastry, I wanted the pastry cream to remain in its best and most decadently luscious and silky state. And although pastry cream could happily withstand the 40 mins baking time, a baked creme pat does have a different texture to a freshly piped one.
The result? A surprisingly light and seriously more-ish dessert that pays off on so many levels. A total dream scape of textures and chocolate flavour.
Alright, shall we make it?
Double chocolate Galette Des Rois
1/2 recipe cocoa puff dough (recipe here) - I think this works best with dough ‘B’!
Chocolate pastry cream
This makes 450g, more than enough for a generously filled 8 inch galette
250g whole milk (OR half double cream and half whole milk for a richer experience)
60g caster sugar
3 egg yolks (around 45g)
5g cocoa powder
60g chocolate, chopped up for ease of melting (I used Tony’s chocolonely milk)
Heat milk with half sugar. Bring it up to almost boiling
Meanwhile whisk other half sugar, cocoa powder and cornflour with egg yolks
Pour a little (say, 1/3) hot milk over the egg mixture, stirring all the time. This is called tempering
Pour it all back into the pan and whisk over a medium heat until thick. You can let it gently boil for 1 min
Take off the heat and whisk in chopped chocolate
Allow to cool completely. Cover so it doesn’t get a skin!
To roll out the puff for Galette Des Rois
Roll out your puff pastry until around 0.2 - 0.3 cm thick. Remember your puff will grow to be approx 8 times the size you roll it to! The thicker it is, the more likely it is go into a funny shape, too!
Rest the sheet in the fridge for 1 hour. It needs to rest otherwise it’ll go into a weird shape when baking
Cut an 8inch disc. I drew round the base of a cake tin. At this stage I also added a cute scalloped edge using the back of a knife, pressing in at 1-inch intervals. If you do this, please use the non-sharp side otherwise the puff will just open up, rather than have a cute border shape. You can egg wash it now, too
Save your off-cuts! You can reroll them into palmiers or simply bake them as scrap and - pro tip - sprinkle on ice cream
Rest this shape in the fridge for at least 30 mins. Longer is better!
Score the galette using a lovely thin sharp knife. This part always freaks me out more than it should. So, to mitigate the anxiety I like to practice my design on a piece of paper before you go for it. A traditional GDR has a slightly swirly sort of pattern on top but you could go for anything you like. Don’t worry about it too much.
You can rest the galette at this stage for anywhere from 30 mins to overnight. You make it work for you!
To bake the puff
Pre-heat oven to 200c fan
Bake on 200c fan for 20 mins
Now you can turn it down to 180c for the final 10-15 mins. It should be puffed and magnificent! It will shrink a little bit (as there’s nothing holding it down!) but don’t worry about that
Once baked, you this puff can be stored baked for 3 days in an airtight container
Remove pastry cream from fridge. It will have gelled and may be a bit of a block. You need to whip/stir it with a spatula until it is lovely and smooth again. This requires a bit of elbow grease but is worth every bit of effort! Now put it into a piping bag
Get your galette shell and cut it half. Next pipe your pastry cream on top. I like to do blobs on the outside (for looks) and then pipe in a spiral for even filling in the middle
EAT! This lasts well in the fridge and is surprisingly crisp even after three days!