Originally, Galette des Rois celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem 12 days after Christmas. In France, however, it is mostly the occasion to enjoy a beloved tradition (more about it below) and to share a delicious cake with family and friends. No wonder we savor Galette des Rois throughout January!
Unless very young children are to eat it, make sure to insert a fève when making it and tell everyone about it in advance. Have the youngest child present sit under the table, cut the Galette in (slightly) unequal slices and ask the child to assign each slice you point to to a different guest. The guest who finds the fève in their slice is to be King or Queen for the day. Make sure to crown them properly with a golden paper crown.
Ready to make your own Galette?
Classic Puff Pastry & Almond Galette des Rois
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 9-inch puff pastry circles (go with ready-made if you have little time)
200 grams (7 oz) ground almonds
100 grams (⅜ cup) sugar
80 grams (6 Tbsp) softened butter
A few drops of vanilla extract
1 egg yolk diluted in a little water
a lucky charm
Pre-heat oven to 210ºC (410ºF).
Lay one puff pastry circle on a buttered tart tray and make tiny holes with a fork.
Blend all filling ingredients (ground almonds, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract) and spread mixture on puff pastry circle, leaving 1-inch free all around the circle. Insert lucky charm in filling somewhere near the edge (to reduce the chance of exposing it when slicing the Galette).
Lay the second puff pastry circle on top and press down the edges to seal. Using a sharp knife, make criss-cross patterns on the pastry lid and brush down a thin layer of diluted yolk – this will make for a nice golden color. Make tiny holes with a fork to let steam escape during baking.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Start checking after 25 minutes. Baking may take up to 40 minutes depending on your oven.
Comtoise Galette des Rois
¼ liter (1 cup) water
90 grams (⅜ cup) sugar
50 grams (4 Tbsp) butter
125 grams (1⅛ cup) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp crème fraîche
2 Tbsp orange blossom water
In a sauce pan bring water, sugar and a pinch of salt to a boil then lower heat to medium. Stir in butter then flour. Mix until dough detach from pan.
Remove from heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Stir in 3 whole eggs, 1 egg white, crème fraîche, and orange blossom water. mix until smooth.
Pour mixture onto a buttered round baking tray. Brush surface with remaining egg yolk and draw decorative lines on top with a fork.
Bake at 160ºC (320ºF) for about 40 minutes. (Do not pre-heat oven.) Serve warm or at room temperature.
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