La galette des rois (kings’ cake) is sold all over in France starting from 1st January until end of January to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6. There are traditionally two versions – in the South, it is a brioche covered with sugar and some fruit paste while the northern part of the country, it is a richer pie made with frangipane (a sort of almond paste) filled puff-pastry. Besides the paper crown that comes with the cake, there is also a hidden porcelain figurine ‘la fève’ (a charm) in the paste and the person who finds it in their slice will be crowned king or queen for the day. Traditionally, to distribute the slices randomly, the youngest member of the family will go under the table and calls out the name of the person around the table whom she wants the next slice to be served until everyone has their slice on their plate. Then that’s where the fun begins, everyone looking at each other wondering who got the lucky ‘fève’… and chewing carefully as not to end up at the dentist!
In Pierre’s family, this tradition of slice distribution used to fall onto my sister-in-law until Little One was born. So when she turned 2½ years old last January, she took over that important role. Being a little chipmunk, the idea of going under the table and commanding who gets the first slice greatly appeals to her. That being said, she couldn’t help and keep peeping out of the table just to make sure that we didn’t cheat. Needless to say, she wants to be crowned PRINCESS of the day regardless who got the fève. LOL!
January has always been my special and favourite month of the year. Do you know why? Have a guess! But now there’s another reason to like this month even more – I get to eat my favourite Galette des Rois through out the whole month. YEAH! Last year I made my very first attempted to make this galette and much to my surprise it was so easy to make. One simply can’t go wrong except maybe if you are half as distracted as me while making it, in which case you’ll ended up with a very brown galette (as shown in picture below). LOL!
Galette des Rois (Kings’ Cake)
- 2 packets puff pastry (home-made or store bought)
- 90 g ground almonds
- 70 g icing sugar
- 90 g butter, melted (I use semi-salted butter as usual)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tbsp heavy crème fraîche or heavy sour cream
- 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
- Preheat oven at 220°C (425°F – gas mark 7).
- In a big bowl, mix ground almonds and icing sugar together.
- Stir in 1 1/2 beaten eggs to the dry ingredients until combine. Keep the rest of 1/2 beaten egg aside.
- Mix in the melted butter until it is well incorporated before stirring in the crème fraîche or sour cream. Make sure each new ingredient is well incorporated into the mixture before adding the next ingredients.
- Lastly mix in the almond extract.
- Lay out the first puff pastry (with it’s baking paper) on a baking tray and lightly fork it all over the surface except the border.
- Spread out the frangipane evenly on the puff pastry leaving a space about 2 – 3 cm from the border (so that you can seal the dough well later).
- Now pick any spot and place the charm (la fève) lightly into the frangipane.
- Lightly wet the border of the first puff pastry.
- Align and place the 2nd puff pastry over the 1st pastry and frangipane, press to seal the edges making sure there is no big air bubbles underneath it. . If it happens, don’t sweat over it. Your tart will come out just as nice but puff up in the centre.
- Mix a little bit of milk into the left over 1/2 beaten egg. With a pastry brush, brush this milky egg mixture all over the surface of the puff pastry, making sure that every corner is covered.
- With the sharp end of a sharp knife, start carving designs on the top without piercing it through.
- Bake it for about 20 minutes or until pastry is puffed up and golden brown. If your pastry is browning too quickly, lightly cover the top with a foil or baking paper.
- Let it cool a bit before serving. It can be served slightly warm or room temperature.
- Before serving it, make sure the youngest of the family is under the table calling the name whom she wants a slice of galette to be served first. And lastly, don’t forget to have a crown ready to crown the King/Queen who finds the charm (la fève).
Mmm… sorry to say that it tastes even better than the ones from the bakery. Yes, I’m conceited. I love the mixed taste of sweet mingled with just a tint of salt (salted butter!) and the almond flavour is just right with the crispy puff pastry… mmm… Simply yummilicious!
For those who have a very sweet tooth, do increase the quantity of sugar as sweetness of this recipe is just nice. If you don’t have almond extract, you can replace it with vanilla essence.