For a truly special celebration, whip up these delicious Galette des Rois recipes. The most traditional French dessert, 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 has 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 the end of December and the beginning of January. Masters and slaves ate together and a bean was slipped into one of the dishes and whoever took it was acclaimed king of the feast. When the church instituted the feast of the Epiphany to celebrate the arrival of the Magi, the tradition of the fava bean in the dessert remained. If the fève was literally a fève, it was replaced around 1870 by a variety of porcelain figurines. These figurines were once children’s to represent Jesus. Some bakers, fearing prosecution if someone chokes them, place the charms on the outside of the pancake and let the buyer hide it. So how do you make the galette des rois recipe? Here are some great ideas!
King cake recipe
This traditional French Kings Cake recipe is a classic cake prepared to celebrate Epiphany. It is made with homemade puff pastry and filled with almond cream. Use this easy textured puff pastry recipe. Try making this homemade puff pastry recipe if you feel like it! In France we know how to maintain the tradition of the Galette des Rois. It can be found in all pastry shops throughout the month of January. Tradition has it that the youngest in the room hides under the table and names the person who will serve the slice. Whoever finds the hidden figure 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
- Cream of Frangipani Filling: While this recipe calls for just almond cream, you can substitute it with cream of frangipani, which is 2 parts almond cream + 1 part custard.
- Puff pastry: You can use store-bought puff pastry or make your own. You can make this textured flaky pastry or go ahead and make the real deal.
- Ceramic figurines: they are usually placed inside the galette, hidden in the almond cream. Whoever gets the “bean” is then crowned king! This is of course optional, but it’s a good idea!
- Bread knife. Or you can use a small, sharp kitchen knife.
To make this galette des rois, roll out the puff pastry and cut it into 24cm rounds. Then garnish with the almond cream and hide a figurine inside before covering with the second round of puff pastry. Brush with egg wash and score the top for a nice galette des rois decoration. Bake and enjoy!
Focus on the secrets of preparation!
- When rolling out the puff pastry make sure that the work surface is lightly floured to prevent the pastry from sticking and falling apart.
- Refrigerate the puff pastry for 30 minutes before cutting it into discs. This will help the layers develop beautifully in the oven.
- Place an 18 cm circle of puff pastry on the puff pastry disc and press it lightly to make a smaller circle into 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 edges of the disc are aligned.
- Use both hands to press around the almond cream to remove air bubbles.
- Turn the Galette des Rois upside down and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before scoring. If the dough is cold and stiff, 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.
- Tilt the knife or carving knife slightly to the side and do not press too hard. You shouldn’t be cutting pasta!
- Paint the brush with a light syrup right out of the oven to make it shine! This is completely optional, but recommended!