Here’s how to make the best galette des rois this year!
For a very special holiday treat, whip up these delicious Galette des Rois recipes. The most traditional French cake, usually served on Epiphany, the day the Three Kings visited the baby Jesus. The cake resembles the Mardi Gras Kings Cake in that it also features a small prize hidden inside the filling. I can’t wait for you to try this galette des rois recipe!
What is the history of the galette des rois?
It is the tradition of course. The pagan custom dates back to Roman times, when festivals were held in honor of the gods between late December and early January. Masters and slaves ate together and a bean was slipped into one of the dishes and whoever got it was hailed king of the party. When the church instituted the feast of Epiphany to celebrate the arrival of the three wise kings, the tradition of the bean in the cake remained. If the fève was literally a fève, it was replaced around 1870 by a variety of porcelain figurines. These figurines were once babies to represent Jesus. Some bakers, fearing prosecution if someone chokes on them, place the charms on the outside of the pancake and leave it to the buyer to hide it. So how do you make your galette des rois recipe? Here are some great ideas!
King cake recipe
This traditional French Kings Cake recipe is a classic cake made to celebrate Epiphany. It is made with homemade puff pastry and filled with almond cream. Use this easy rough puff pastry recipe. Try making this homemade puff pastry recipe if you feel like it! In France, we know how to keep the tradition of the Galette des Rois. It can be found in all pastry shops throughout the month of January. The tradition is that the youngest in the room hides under the table and names the person who will serve the slice. Whoever finds the figure hidden inside is crowned King! It is made with homemade puff pastry and filled with an almond cream filling. For the puff pastry, you can use this simple rough puff pastry recipe. Make this homemade puff pastry recipe if you feel like it!
Notes on ingredients and materials
- Almond cream filling
- Frangipane Cream Filling: While this recipe only calls for almond cream, you can substitute it with frangipane cream, which is 2 parts almond cream + 1 part pastry cream.
- Puff pastry: you can use store-bought puff pastry or make your own. You can either make this rough puff pastry or go ahead and do the real deal.
- Ceramic figurines: these are usually placed inside the galette, hidden in the almond cream. Whoever gets the “bean” is then crowned king! This is optional of course, but it’s a good idea!
- Bread knife. Or you can use a small, sharp paring knife.
To make this galette des rois, roll out the puff pastry and cut it into 24 cm rounds. Then, garnish with almond cream and hide a figurine inside before covering with the second round of puff pastry. Brush with egg wash and mark the top for a beautiful galette des rois decoration. Bake and enjoy!
Focus on the secrets of preparation!
- When rolling out the puff pastry, make sure your work surface is lightly floured to prevent the pastry from sticking and falling apart.
- Refrigerate puff pastry for 30 minutes before cutting into discs. This will help the layers develop beautifully in the oven.
- Place an 18cm pastry circle on the puff pastry disk and press it lightly to mark a smaller circle inside which you will place the almond cream. Be careful not to press too hard or you will cut the puff pastry.
- Leave the cake circle on top of the puff pastry, place the almond cream inside, spread it evenly with a spoon or spatula then remove the circle.
- Make sure the bottom and top disc edges are aligned.
- Use both hands to press around the almond cream to remove air bubbles.
- Turn the Galette des Rois over and refrigerate for about 30 mins/1 hour before scoring. If the dough is cold and hard, scoring is much easier and you won’t damage the puff pastry.
Brush with egg wash just before scoring, this helps the knife glide better.
- Slightly tilt the knife or scoring knife to the side and do not press too hard. You’re not supposed to cut the dough!
- Paint the brush with a light syrup right out of the oven to make it shine! This is completely optional, but recommended!