For the past 15 years, the Poilâne bakery has been offering a Galette des Rois (or “King’s Cake”) filled with hazelnut cream, departing from the conventional galettes filled with marzipan or almond cream. Cake Justice, always curious when it comes to the out of the ordinary, went to acquire one. But rest easy, the lure of originality will not distract him from a rigorous analysis of the fundamental characteristics of any flaky pastry galette, regardless of its filling.
Beneath its sweet, shiny glaze, Poilâne’s hazelnut cream galette retains a conventional construction, being simply composed of a flaky pastry dough filled with hazelnut cream. Within each of Poilâne’s galettes hides one of the 4 figurines designed for the bakery’s 2014 fève collection (the fève is a trinket hidden in every Galette des Rois. The person who finds the fève in his slice of cake becomes the king (or queen) for the day, and is given a gold paper crown to wear. The fève was originally an actual broad bean, but today is usually a small porcelain or plastic figurine). Poilâne’s 2014 fève collection was inspired by the characters in the Grimm brothers’ fairytale The Town Musicians of Bremen. In our galette, we found the donkey.
This galette for two people has a diameter of 150 mm and a height of 43 mm. It is also available in larger sizes. The specimen we purchased weights 233 grams and costs 10.85 euros.
The flaky pastry is not cooked homogenously. The base seems well cooked, but the surface is too hard, and the taste of overcooked pastry can be felt in places. The cream has a pleasant granular texture, in which the flavor of hazelnut comes out nicely. However, this filling lacks in generosity, as it only starts 25 mm away from the edge of the dough and is spread relatively thinly, in 8 mm-thick layer. Overall, this galette comes off as rather dry.
Poilâne’s hazelnut cream galette may please with its measured originality, but it does not sufficiently distinguish itself from conventional almond galettes. Furthermore, its cooking is not quite uniform and it is penalized by a lack of refinement and attention to detail. In Cake Justice’s opinion, this galette still has room for improvement.
Score: 2/5 Insufficient
8 rue du Cherche-midi, 75006 Paris, France