Awakening Beauty- Book Giveaway !

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Posted by Dee

Who doesn’t want to be beautiful ? Admit it or not , all of us want to be beautiful , Last year while I was visiting family in India , my 14 year old niece had asked me at least 35 times if she looked beautiful and when I told her that she was indeed beautiful, she was ecstatic. I am the best aunt she ever has !

Often , we forget how beautiful we are , so much so that I am surprised when people tell me I look pretty , I must admit I really feel weird when someone compliments me on my looks or skin may be because I think certain aspects of my face are not so good or even ugly. While I was reading this book , It really occurred to me that I as an individual should embrace all that I have , restore peace and harmony and love myself in order to feel whole and really feel beautiful inside and out.

Most of us lead hectic lives , a fantastic career , great kids and family structure , busy weekends , girls night outs , you name it we do it , but how many of us , stop for a minute , look at ourselves and say “I am taking good care of myself , I am happy and content , I eat well , I take care of my body , my skin and my face “ ? How many of us set apart a certain amount of time everyday just for ourselves ? Well , I’m sure not many of us ! We , women tend to put our kids , family and career first than ourselves , we are programmed that way ! But if even one person, after reading this article , puts away some time for herself everyday, Id be the happiest !

Listen to the warning signs that work against your rhythm , listen to the Hungry , Angry , Lonely , Tired (HALT) signs and work in communion with your rhythms. Remember that your life is supported by your rhythms and cause it to unfold. By understanding your rhythms, you develop a sense of self , an ever- increasing capacity for genuine love and an ever – unfolding beauty.

What are rhythms ?

Rhythms are nothing but the gentle waves of your inner world which is alive with thoughts and feelings.

How do you recognize rhythm ?

Sometimes by doing nothing and relaxing and gently breathing . A simple way to bring order in your rhythm is to bring order in your environment like cleaning and de cluttering the space around you , enjoying the beauty of nature , most importantly giving time to yourself and trying to cleanse your mind of the negative thoughts that are clouding you.

I truly believe what goes into your stomach should mostly be organic and local. I also believe what you apply on your face also has to be organic. I am willing to cut back on other things which are not so important and spend on things that I use for my skin everyday ! I support cosmetics which have ingredients grown bio dynamically or organic in nature.

What is biodynamic farming?

Biodynamic farming was introduced by Rudolf Steiner , an esotericist, philosopher , thinker , It is a scientific use of crop rotation , composting, integrated soil , crop and pest management keeping in mind the health of the ecosystem and in the early twentieth century

Biological practices banned all the use of synthetic substances such as pesticides and fertilizers chemical in nature and sustainable practices like using green manure , composting , cover crops , crop rotation and companion planting were incorporated.

Dynamic practices included intentions to increase the life force of earth and the farm in general. Some practices were herbal remedies or preparations applied to the soil, the leaves of the plant and compost of the plants to make the plants grow healthier and stronger.

Out of the biodynamic farming was born the organic movement.

Boosting your life force for energy and beauty

Rudolf Steiner says there is an energetic connection between people.Our thoughts , emotions and words are bundles of etheric energy. Susan West kurz , who is the author of Awakening beauty gives us some great insight into this .
She says “ Everyone who touches you with love , care or compassion elevates your life energy and contributes to your health and beauty. The opposite is also true.

Some tips to strengthen our health, improve our lives and develop our beauty.

1.Spend some time in Nature

2.Eat unprocessed plant food

3.Express gratitude and love throughtout the day especially when you drink water or bathe or shower. Water is a powerful healing medium.

4,Dance or do rhythmic exercise

5. Seek out therauptic massage and healing touch like Reiki and acupuncture.

6. Listen to beautiful , harmonious music

7. Use skin care products made of pure plant substances, preferably grown biodynamically or organically

8. Practice rhythm

In spite of all this aging is inevitable , which means we need to be more and more conscious o exposing ourselves to the sources of healing and beauty. The reason being when you reach your thirties , forties and fifties , the life force turns its attention from the physical body towards your internal development , namely wisdom , spiritual development. Therefore your health and beauty depend on the wisdom of choices and how well you care for yourself, both internally and externally.

Thank you all for taking a moment and reading what I wrote. I have written just a fraction of what I have read and understood from this book. All I can say is Take good care of yourself. Truly believe that sometimes if you have to put yourself first ,then you should do it in order to become a better person. I am speaking from experience, I have a 10 month old baby and its no small task to care for her , I have signed away my life to her and I am the happiest about it. I believe if I take care of myself , I can do a better job in taking care of her .

We , The Daily tiffin team are giving away Awakening Beauty – Dr Hauschka Way by Susan West Kurz with Tom Monte . Please leave a comment in the below comments section. Meeta and I will pick up the winner randomly and inform the winner and post the book in 7 days. Last date for leaving a comment is 25th Feb 2009.

Check out more details of the book on Amazon

The book has a lot of information about

Sustainable beauty practices.

Details about specific healing conditions.

The advantages of using plant products especially from Biodynamic and organic farms.

Great recipes for facial scrubs and best of all over 60 recipes for a healthy skin and beauty.

Note: Awakening beauty was used for reference and the above content is picked from the book. Thank you to Cercone Brown & Co, the publishers for sending us the book.

This post was written by Dee

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Can Healthy Meals Be Kid Friendly Too?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Posted by Aparna Balasubramanian

I am Aparna, I write a vegetarian blog at My Diverse Kitchen and am excited to join the team at The Daily Tiffin. When Meeta invited me here, she suggested I could write posts related to "healthy kid-friendly meals".
While I am not an expert in this area, I have a 13 year old daughter who has a very strong opinion on most things, including food. Trying to ensure that she eats food which I deem healthy and she likes is not a very easy thing to do.

I am not an authority on child nutrition even though I did study biochemistry, nutrition and dietetics in university a long time ago. I have, over time, discovered (like many others) that no degree in anything remotely connected with health, diet and nutrition can prepare you for the task of getting your child or children to eat what you think is best for them. It is always about what they want to eat, which mostly is what you would prefer they didn't!

Funnily enough, I never had much problem with getting my daughter to eat when she was younger. She wasn't a very fussy eater though she could take hours to finish a meal. At that point she used to find the rest of the world more interesting than food, and often had to be reminded that she needed to finish what was on her plate!

At the age of 8 or so, whenever we went grocery shopping, Akshaya would check all the product labels to ensure that they were vegetarian, contained no trans-fat, preservatives or colour! Whenever we ate out, she would refuse aerated drinks insisting that she only drank water!!
In fact, I started baking a lot more at home because she didn't like the "funny" taste of store bought cookies/ biscuits and cakes.

Sure, she had her own likes and dislikes where food was concerned and there would be occasions when we would argue over her not eating something. A large part of the time reasoning things with her or giving in to her demands occasionally kept the balance going.

Then around the time she turned 10 something happened. Apparently, teenage sets in these days a lot earlier than it did in our times! And our daughter's food tastes and preferences underwent a dramatic change! She discovered junk food with a vengeance!
Pepsi or Sprite was so much "cooler" than water, traditional food just didn't have the "style" that a McPuff, a McVeggie or a McAloo Tikki from McDonalds did and how could a dosa (Indian savoury crepes) ever stand up to "ze pizza"?

One of my "healthy" vegetable burgers!

That's when the question "Can Kid Friendly Meals Be Healthy?" really became relevant for me. I am happy to have discovered that that the answer is definitely a "Yes!" Well, most of the time anyway.

We found ways to ensure that most of what our daughter eats is on the healthier side. This is not to say that she and I do not argue over what she eats. In fact, one of her pet peeves is her inability to understand why I have to cook and insist on her eating "healthy and boring" food! Actually, she does understand this but I think that she doesn't want to accept it, most of the time.

We have now arrived at a sort of compromise where she now accepts my need to ensure she eats healthy food while we accept her need to occasionally fulfill her "unhealthy" food cravings.

This post was written by Aparna

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Tortilla Española

Friday, January 22, 2010

Posted by Antonio Tahhan

If you take a potato, an egg and an onion, you can make culinary masterpieces. One of them is the incredibly popular Spanish tapas called, Tortilla Española. You can find this dish in Spain at almost any restaurant, bar and café. I add chorizo to my variation because you can add chorizo to almost anything and make it taste amazing. It's true, with the exception of ice cream, maybe. Chorizo is essentially a Spanish pork sausage that is packed with garlic and hot paprika (pimentón). It's spicy, but not overwhelming spicy, and is used extensively in Spanish cooking.

Tortilla has become ubiquitous across Spain, but is believed to have originated from Navarro, a municipality in the province of Asturias in Northern Spain.

You want to start off by peeing the potatoes, using a mandolin preferably, or a very sharp knife in order to get 1/8" uniform slices. This is important because you want your potatoes to cook evenly. If you don't own a mandolin, try to see if your box grater has a slicer option on the side -- they usually do. If not, you try and use your sharpest knife which will help make uniform slices a lot easier.

The best part of this dish is that it can be made at any time since these are all ingredients almost everyone has in their pantries at any given time. In Spain the tortillas are usually made in extremely large skillets and served by the slice at the tapas bars. They're so popular, in fact, that they have a special plate that was designed specifically to flip the tortilla over midway through the cooking process. At home I don't have this special plate, but any large flat plate will do the job just fine.

Recipe: Tortilla Española


  • 4 medium russet potatoes

  • 5 eggs

  • 2 Spanish yellow onions

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for pan frying

  • Spanish Chorizo (cured not fresh)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Remove the skin from the chorizo, dice and saute in a skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes to render some of the fat.

  2. Peel the potatoes and slice into 1/8" disks.

  3. Peel the onions, cut in half, and slice roughly the same width as the potatoes.

  4. Add plenty of olive oil to the skillet and add the potatoes and onions to cook over medium heat (stir regularly to make sure they don't brown).

  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs.

  6. Once the potatoes and onions have cooked (i.e. potatoes are tender), drain the potatoes from any excess oil, and add the potato and onion mixture to the eggs along with the chorizo.

  7. Add everything back to the skillet and cook until one side is golden brown. At this point, take a large plate, flip the tortilla onto the plate, and quickly invert the other side back into the skillet.

  8. Finish cooking until the second side is golden brown and enjoy.

This post was written by Antonio Tahhan

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Easy Basic Chocolate Truffle recipe

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Posted by Mansi

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and if you are not done with your fair share of Holiday treats, then here's another occasion to celebrate love by enjoying these delicious Chocolate Truffles with your loved one! Everyone loves truffles, and what I love the most is the fact that you can virtually make numerous truffle recipes, as long as you nail the basic Ganache recipe. Plus, you can easily preserve these candies for almost 2 weeks when refrigerated. So here's the easiest recipe to make Basic Chocolate Truffles - go ahead and find your variation by selecting any one of the suggested truffle ideas below!

Basic Chocolate Truffles
Makes about 1.5 pounds chocolate

1 cup Crème Fraîche (or heavy cream)
14 oz. Dark Chocolate (use very high quality, 70% cocoa, chocolate - or very high quality unsweetened baking chocolate.)
8 oz. Additional Dark Chocolate
11/2 cups Cocoa Powder (the highest quality you can find)
3 tbsp. Butter (optional)


Making the Ganache:
1. Break chocolate into small pieces and put in a large bowl.
2. Bring cream slowly to a light boil.
3. Pour boiling cream over chocolate and keep stirring until all the chocolate has melted and the batter is uniform.
4. If you want to add butter, do so now, before the batter cools, and thickens.

When the ganache is warm it is very creamy. You can thicken it by whisking it for a few minutes, or by putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes or until set (it should have the consistency of fudge). You want the ganache to be just thick enough to easily form the truffle balls.

Making the Truffles
Using a melon baller or a small spoon, form rounds of the ganache and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Let the truffles harden in the freezer for about 15 minutes. After removing truffles from the freezer, roll them between your hands into marble-size spheres, squeezing gently (try to do this quickly, otherwise they'll become too soft).

While you form the Truffles, Melt the rest of the chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Then Dip each ball in the melted chocolate and then roll it in the cocoa powder.


1. Roll the truffles into ground pistachios to make Pistachio Truffles.
2. Soak some orange rinds in some Grand mariner or other sweet liqueur and add to the Ganache to make a special version.
3. Add hazelnut or Coffee flavor to the ganache then roll the truffles in ground hazelnut powder to make nutty truffles.

There, enjoy Valentine's Day with these delicious truffle recipes. If you are looking for more fun, try these Chocolate Truffle Cookies instead; they will leave an impression, guaranteed! And for a more memorable holiday, start your morning with breakfast in bed, serving these hot and healthy Strawberry Pancakes, follow with a delicious yet stress-free recipe for Baked Macaroni in Cream Sauce and end your evening with a glass of chilled Raspberry Ice Cream Float for dessert!

This post was written by Mansi

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Quick Indian - Pakoras and Bhajias

Monday, January 18, 2010

Posted by Bina

These deep-fried, absolutely addicting fritters made of chickpea flour and vegetables are one of the most popular tea-time snacks in India. They are quick, need just a few ingredients and are easy to make. Versatile too. You can use vegetables like potatoes, onions, cauliflower, eggplant green peppers, shredded cabbage, spinach and even hot, green chillies. They are also made with paneer and sometimes slices of hearty white bread.

Pakoras or Bhajias with a hot cup of tea is a combination that is hard to match! Especially on cold, rainy days. It brings back memories of coming home soaking wet during the monsoons and in the time it took to dry off, my mom would have some hot tea and a plate of piping hot pakoras waiting for me. In my house, the batter dipped vegetables were called bajjis (bhajias)and the ones made with sliced onions, chickpea flour and spices were called pakodis (pakoras). This terminology seems to be typical to the south while it is reversed in the north. Call them pakoras, pakodis, bhajias or bajjis. Or simply call them delicious!


4 medium onions, thinly sliced (approx. 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tbsp chopped green chillies
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp coriander powder (optional)
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
1-2 tbsp water
salt to taste
oil for deep frying


  • Heat oil in a kadai or a small wok to about 375F. If using a heavy flat pan, make sure the oil is about 3 inches deep. This will prevent the pakoras from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Combine the sliced onions and salt in a medium bowl and mix well.

  • Add the cilantro and green chillies.

  • Add the chickpea flour, cayenne pepper powder, coriander powder and garam masala(optional). Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to make mixing easier.

  • Mix well and drop the mixture into the hot oil with a 1/8 cup measure for larger ones or scoop it with a tablespoon and drop in hot oil for smaller ones. You can also scoop up a small mound with your fingers and drop carefully into the hot oil (watch those fingers!).

  • Turn them over once they turn golden brown on one side and fry till they turn the same color on the other side.

  • Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.

  • Serve hot with some green chutney or ketchup.

  • Bhajias

    Vegetables like thinly sliced potatoes, cauliflower broken into small florets, green pepper wedges, thinly sliced onions or eggplant.
    1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
    1/8 cup chopped cilantro
    1/2 tsp carom (ajwain) seeds - optional
    salt to taste

  • Heat oil in a kadai or small wok to baout 375F. If using a heavy flat pan, make sure the oil is about 3 inches deep. This will prevent the bhajias from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  • Add the chickpea flour, salt, cayenne pepper powder, carom seeds (if using) and cilantro to a large bowl.

  • Add enough water to make a thick batter (I use a whisk). The batter should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and when you run your finger through the batter, the line should remain.

  • Dip the vegetables in the batter. one slice or piece at a time, making sure they are well coated

  • Drop into the hot oil and fry until they are crispy and goden brown all over.

  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot with green chutney.

  • Pakoras and Bhajias will become soft after a few hours. Reheating them in a 350F oven for about 5 mins makes them crispy again.

    Thanks to my friend, Helen, for the the fantastic photography.

    This post was written by Bina

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    Modern Technology for Modern Kids

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Posted by Hilda

    What does it and will it mean to be technologically savvy if you're a child of the 21st century?

    I've been thinking about this a lot ever since my little girl was born almost 10 months ago now. Last week there was an article in the New York Times about the difference in childrens' experience of technology as a function of the pocket of time in which they were born, with only a few years making the difference between children who think of a computer as something with a keyboard, and toddlers who think that if they touch the computer's screen something will happen as it does with their parents' iPhones and Blackberrys.

    This was driven home by the fact that I have two stepchildren, a sixteen year-old and a ten year-old, and now an almost one year-old child as well, each of whose experience will have been vastly different by the time they are adults. In fact, I've been thinking about this for much longer than that because I keep thinking about conversations I used to have with my grandfather about the technological leaps he'd seen in his lifetime, which I'm sure is probably a conversation you've had with your parents and grandparents as well.
    My grandfather was born on the shores of the Caspian Sea in 1916. When he was three years old, he was sent off with his nanny in a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of the night to Teheran, the family fleeing in front of the White Army, itself chased by the Red Army. In his lifetime, he saw cars go from a top speed of 40mph to over 250mph, radios were replaced by televisions, movies acquired sound and went from black and white to color, planes became the de facto mean of traveling long distances, the sound barrier was broken, the computer, video games and the internet were invented, the phone became mobile, man went to the moon, nuclear war became a real possibility, etc.... In conversations with me, he would often marvel at the things he'd seen come to pass, and I would try to understand what it was like not to have a television. At the time, it seemed absurd, to witness so much change, but the truth is that we are still witnessing that change, only we witness it at a micro level compared to the two generations before ours (I'm 34).

    In my, and probably many of your lifetimes, the computer became personal and then became hand-held with the PDA and now the smartphones, video games went from the Atari (remember that?) to game consoles in 2 and 3D, the internet (and the reason you may be reading this right now) became a publicly used medium (and no, Al Gore did not invent it), films went digital and now with Avatar it looks like there will be many more movies in 3D, television went from the old cathode ray tube boxes to plasmas and HD, and even the phone, remember how the phone used to have rotary dials? Now we carry them around in our jackets and purses, listen to music on them, shoot pictures and video with them, and even give them verbal commands to dial a number. Crazy talk.

    The difference between all of my kids when it comes to their understanding of technology and its possibilities will range from the sixteen year-old and nine year-old knowing that one types on a computer's keyboard, while my little one will probably not have to resort to such measures, when she can finally use one, and is most likely receiving the right kind of training by playing with the touch screen on my iPhone. It will mean that while the eldest has very restricted access to Facebook and other social media outlets, the youngest will probably communicate on the internet in ways I haven't begun to fathom yet, while the nine year-old will likely have a grasp of social interaction that is between her older brother's and her little sister's.
    The sixteen year-old communicates largely by text messages, while conceivably my nine year-old and my little one are getting more accustomed to video-chatting, which may be a good thing in the sense that they are getting used to actually seeing people in order to communicate with them. Is this where this is leading us? Ultimately, the loop coming back around to being able to see someone's face when you are talking to them, albeit with the difference that physical proximity will no longer be a requirement. And knowing that this is one of the many possibilities coming up, is there a way to monitor and control your childrens' access or exposure to technologies as they become ever more ubiquitous and mobile?

    I know that, ultimately, I've already been relegated to the stone age as far as the period in which I grew up, I mean, libraries to do research... who goes to those anymore? So the challenge will be how to keep up with my kids without seeming like the technology has gotten beyond my capability to relate to it and its possibilities. I am curious to know what those of you with children think about this, anyone want to share?

    This post was written by Hilda

    Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: We look forward to hearing your ideas.


    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    Posted by Jamie


    The plate is set before me, the aroma of warm pastry and almonds whirls and swirls up and around my head. I inhale deeply and breath in all the goodness, the scent of cozy winter afternoons in front of a roaring fire, snowy days bundled up under a thick blanket, dog at my feet, a mug of hot tea in my hand and this delicacy, this thing of beauty placed before me. Layers upon layers of flaky golden pastry, its sugary, buttery flakes cradling a rich, rum-kissed almond cream in which hides a very special prize. And like all great French fashion, it comes with the perfect accessory: a golden crown.

    Many of us are winding up the Christmas season by packing up the decorations, taking down the colored lights and disposing of the tree. The last of the turkey or ham has been sandwiched between bread and eaten, the fruitcake and panettone, the cookies and the stollen all devoured. The gifts have all been opened and enjoyed and the last card has been stamped, sealed and sent. Now is the 6th day of January, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, the day, as the story goes, on which the Three Magi arrived in Bethlehem and carried gifts to the baby Jesus. To celebrate the occasion, the French fête this joyous occasion with a very special patisserie, la Galette des Rois, Kings’ Cake.

    J-B Greuze, Le Gateau des Rois, 1774

    We all know that many well-known and loved symbols and traditions of Christmas are originally of pagan origin: the decorated tree, mistletoe, the Yule log among others. In fact, during the early years of the religion, the Christmas festivities were actually pushed up to the end of the year to coincide with the Winter Solstice and thus overlapped the pagan Saturnalia, a most popular Roman celebration marked by rambunctious behavior, overall silliness and fun and games, somewhat more joyous than the usually solemn Christian celebrations. Little by little, the Christians absorbed some of the practices that highlighted these non-religious pagan festivities. It is thought that originally the day of Jesus’ birth, celebrated on December 25, was reserved for strictly religious observance while the Epiphany, January 6 was a day of celebration, the day of giving and receiving gifts, a day in which some of the less than religious practices were merged with the gift-giving of the Magi.

    In France, this day, January 6, the Epiphany, is known as Le Jour des Rois, The Kings Day. And in France, this day is fêted by the eating of La Galette des Rois, the King’s Cake. This special cake of pâte feuilletée, puff pastry, filled with almond cream, frangipane, wasn’t always reserved for this day, but was eaten on most festive occasions when frivolity was called for. Little by little it found it’s way to representing the Epiphany and Kings Day. But did this grow out of the story of the Magi, the cake representing the Three Kings and their gifts or did it come from the Saturnalia celebrations whose parties were characterized by the tradition of the reversal of social roles in which the king became servant and the servant became king? Either way, tradition has it that a lucky charm, originally a, small fève or bean is buried in the almond cream before the top layer of puff pastry is placed atop the cake and then baked. When the cake is served, the youngest child of the party scoots underneath the table where he cannot see what’s on top of the table and as the cake is sliced the child shouts out the name of the recipient of each piece. Why? Because whoever finds the bean in his slice of Galette is crowned with the accompanying paper crown and is king for the day. And what is the role of the king, you ask? Why, to offer the guests another Galette! It’s a day of indulgence, frivolity and merry-making!

    Legend has it that for quite a while the King, the person who had discovered the bean in his slice of cake, was obliged to buy a round of drinks for everyone in the room. But those who were too stingy to pay would often just swallow the bean with the cake to avoid being named, so somewhere during the 19th century the bean was replaced with a tiny ceramic charm, sometimes representing a religious figure but more than often not, a tiny charm simple or fancy. Collecting these charms soon became a craze and people today are known to search far and wide and spend crazy sums of money buying special charms for their collections.

    A collection of fèves.

    Beginning just after the New Year, glass cases in every French pastry shop are lined with Galettes des Rois, filled not only with the traditional almond cream but with chocolate or fruit fillings as well. Every year I buy one or two over the course of the week or two of their short-lived appearance and we all enjoy these wonderful, rich confections. But this year, I have decided to make my own! It starts with homemade puff pastry, easy to make although rather time consuming, or store bought if you like, and then simply filled with a luscious filling of ground almonds, softened butter, sugar and an egg and flavored with rum and vanilla, whipped together in the flash of an eye. And a fève of course.

    Enjoy it, for the season is short.

    I referred to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for quantities and procedure and then adapted to my own taste.

    About 1 – 1 ½ lbs (500 g) puff pastry or two store-bought rounds *
    2 ½ oz (70 g) sugar
    2 oz (60 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
    1 large egg
    2 ½ oz (70 g) ground almonds
    ¼ tsp vanilla
    1 Tbs rum
    Egg wash (I yolk whisked with 1 tsp cold water)
    Icing/powdered sugar for dusting the top of the Galette.

    * I followed this recipe which yields 2 ½ lbs (1 kg) dough and I used a tad more than half of the prepared dough.

    Prepare the Frangipane filling:
    Beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, the ground almonds, the vanilla and the rum. Add more vanilla or rum to taste, if desired. Place the filling in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a lidded plastic container and refrigerate until ready to use. It needs to firm up before assembly the cake.

    To prepare the Galette des Rois:
    Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of ½ inch (1 cm) and not less than 3/8 inch, long and wide enough to cut out two 8 or 8 ½-inch (21 cm) discs. Using a cake tin or plate of about 8- or 8 ½-inches (21 cm) diameter and using a very sharp knife, trace and cut out two discs. Place each disc carefully on parchement-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

    Stack remaining dough (don’t mash together into a ball as you would other dough), wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for another use.

    Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

    Remove prepared rounds of puff pastry. Choose one to be the bottom of the cake a gently press with your fingers the edges out a bit to enlarge the circle slightly. Remove the chilled almond cream from the fridge and mound in the center of the bottom disc of dough. Press it flat and out, using the back of a soup spoon, leaving about 1 ½ inches (4 cm) border of dough free around the edges. Press a fève, a ceramic charm of some sort, or even an old-fashioned dried bean or a coin into the almond cream.

    Paint this wide edge of the dough around the almond filling with the egg wash. Gently place the second disc of dough on top of the filling placing the top and bottom discs edge to edge (so the edges meet all the way around). Press to seal.

    Place a bowl upside down on top of the discs – the bowl should come up to ½ to 1 inch from the edges. Using a sharp knife held perpendicular to the table, cut into the dough to create a scalloped edge to the cake. Now carefully carve a design into the top of the cake. Cut a small circle in the center of the top dough disc and insert a chimney (make a chimney out of parchment or foil or, as I did, use an upside down aluminum pastry bag tip).

    Brush the top of the dough with egg wash. Place in the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. If you think the pastry is browning too quickly, simply lay a piece of foil over the top.

    Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) and continue baking for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until the sides of the pastry are also golden and crisp.

    Remove the Galette from the oven and move the rack up one notch. Generously dust the entire top surface of the Galette with powdered sugar then place the pastry back in the oven. Now bake for around 5 minutes until the sugar has turned to a golden and very shiny glaze. Stand next to your oven and watch because (as you can see from mine) it turns to the perfect glaze very quickly then in the flash of an eye burns! You must watch so you can pull it out of the oven just as the last of the top turns a gorgeous golden and not leave it one second longer.

    Allow to cool a bit. Serve warm (not hot). Make sure there is a child under the table while the host cuts the Galette and then passes each slice as the child calls out whom to serve. Have a paper crown ready to crown the King who finds the charm!

    This post was written by JAMIE

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