Would you like to have the galette des rois with frangipane… or with almond cream?

Would you like to have the galette des rois with frangipane... or with almond cream?

If Epiphany has officially passed, the galette des rois will be authentic throughout the month of January, thus fueling the perpetual battle between the defenders of the brioche des rois and those of the galette. In reality, this is not the only opposition: there are those who prefer almond cream and others frangipane, because it is not exactly the same.

For its revisitation according to the codes of flan, the pastry chef of the CinqSens boutique in Paris, Nicolas Paciello, chose to create a frangipane heart flavored with rum. For his part, chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin prefers to prepare an almond cream to sprinkle his king cake with chocolate chips. Sometimes chefs indicate frangipane in their recipe, sometimes they announce almond cream. However, you know that in both cases, the pancake will have an almond taste. So why on earth do pastry chefs exercise this distinction?

Contrary to what we often read, almond cream is not synonymous with frangipane. If it can be for a simple lexical reason, in texts which want to avoid repetitions, in reality, we cannot take one for the other. And so you do well to ask yourself the question. It’s true that we can lose our Latin, even though the origins of the frangipane recipe themselves generate misunderstandings since historians have not really come to an agreement. It is said that it was Cesare Frangipani who entrusted the recipe to Catherine de Medici on the occasion of her marriage to Henri II. If we are to believe the etymology, it would also be likely that frangipane refers to a perfume created to hide the smell of leather from gloves and shoes. Specifically, its inventor would have used bitter almonds.

Let’s let historians decide on the question and rely on the classics of pastry chefs to understand the difference in taste between almond cream and frangipane. For this, there is nothing like a professional work. In the book “Le livre du pâtissier” that CAP Pâtissier students must acquire to follow their training, it is clearly indicated that almond cream is made from butter, sugar, powdered almonds, eggs , rum and vanilla. So many ingredients that we find in frangipane, with one (big) difference… “The almond cream is made cold. We call it “frangipane” cream when we add pastry cream to almond cream” write Bernard Deschamps and Jean-Claude Deschaintre in their “Pâtissier’s Book”.

Why would some pastry chefs go to the trouble of adding pastry cream when others would prefer to rely solely on almond cream? It’s all a question of point of view: do they want to make a gourmet galette des rois with a soft filling, whichever is the first case, or do they prefer to deliver an intense almond flavor? Last year, speaking to RTL, Cyril Lignac, whose initial training as a pastry chef is known, indicated that he preferred almond cream because “the taste of almond permeates the taste buds”. QED. And you, what feeling do you prefer when you eat a galette des rois?

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