La Galette des Rois or King’s Cake

La galette des Rois (literally “the flat pastry cake of the Kings”) is a cake celebrating Epiphany. This holiday which traditionally falls on January 6th, is a Christian holiday that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Magi to the Baby Jesus (Wikipedia). La galette des rois is traditionally sold and consumed a few days before and after this date. In modern France and Quebec, the cakes can be found in most bakeries during the month of January. Two versions exist: in northern France and Quebec the cake (which can be either circular or rectangular) consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane. In the south of France, particularly in Occitania and Roussillon, the cake, called gâteau des rois or royaume, is a torus-shaped brioche with candied fruits, very similar to the Catalan tortell. This version of the cake originates in Provence and predates the northern version.

The cake has a small trinket (often a small plastic or porcelain figurine) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. The person who gets the trinket is declared the King or Queen of the day.

The cakes are usually sold in special bags, some of which can be used to heat the cake in a microwave without ruining the crispness of the cake. A paper crown is included with the cake to crown the “king” who finds the fève in their piece of cake.

Formerly, one divided the cake in as many shares as guests, plus one. The latter, called “the share of God,” “share of the Virgin Mary,” or “share of the poor” was intended for the first poor person to arrive at the home.

The French President is not allowed to “draw the kings” on Epiphany because of the etiquette rules. Therefore, a traditional galette without figurine or crown is served at Elysée Palace in January “Wikipedia”.

Today I will give you the recipe of La Galette des Rois with Frangipane:

Ingredients for 1 galette for about 8 people:

  • 1 pack of puff pastry,
  • 3.5 oz of almond mill,
  • 3.5 oz of sugar,
  • 2.70 oz of butter,
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk,
  • 1 tsp of almond extract.

  1. Roll the pastry sheets into 2 12 inches disks.
  2. In a bowl, add the almond mill, the sugar, 2 eggs, the melted butter and 1 tsp of almond extract and mix well.
  3. Empty this mixture onto one of the disk. Spread the mixture so it covers the disk all over up to 1/2 inch off the border.
  4. Place the trinket in the cake, but away from the center.
  5. Break the last egg and place the egg yolk in one small bowl, and the egg white in another.
  6. With a pastry brush, brush the edges of the dough.
  7. Place the other disk on top of the other one and close the edges by pressing and pinching the sides together.
  8. With a knife, “draw” decorations on the dough.
  9. Add 1 tsp of water to the egg yolk, mix well and brush the egg wash onto the top of the galette.
  10. Cook in oven for 20 minutes at 375. YUMMM!!!

11. Serve the galette. To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares, it is traditional for the youngest person in the house and to place themselves under the table and name the recipient of the share which is indicated by the person in charge of the service. As the cake is being given out, everyone is to wait until the child has given all the share ( but one) and tells when to start eating. It is fun!!! You should try. For now..

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!