When I lived in France I had the opportunity to eat a lot of delicious foods. I became very addicted to the chocolate croissant, which was what my school sold every day for the snack. To this day I’m quite the croissant snob. I’m very particular about pastry, and so I was thrilled when an authentic french pastry shop opened in town. I think I actually cried the first time I walked in the door!
My absolute favorite dessert from France was the Galette des Rois. Loosely translated it means Cake of Kings . I think part of the appeal of this dessert is that it’s only available during the Christmas holidays. You can find it usually starting the beginning of December up until the Epiphany holiday. Epiphany celebrates the visit of three kings to Jesus. I have found different dates for the holiday, but for my purposes, we’re going with January 6th as the date. I’m mostly going with this because it’s not until Thursday which means I haven’t missed it!
Galette des Rois is basically two layers of puff pastry that sandwich a layer of almond paste. Inside the cake is hidden a tiny favor, and whoever gets the piece of of cake with the favor gets to be King/Queen for the day. If you buy the cake from a bakery they’ll usually supply you with a paper crown. I used to dream of this dessert, but I couldn’t find a recipe (thank you internet!). I would end up buying a mix whenever I found myself in France (which has only been a couple of times), but that wasn’t enough to get me through!
You can imagine my excitement when I married someone from Louisiana and found out the there are king cakes every year around mardi gras. There are even little favors hidden inside, but the similarities end there! Mardi Gras king cake is nothing like Epiphany king cake. Maybe I’ll post a recipe for the other King Cake in February!
Have a little cultural night this week and enjoy yourself a galette!
Galette des Rois
- 1/4 c. almond paste
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 pckg. frozen puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- powdered sugar for decorating
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine almond paste and sugar in a food processor and mix until well blended.
- Add butter, egg, vanilla extract, almond extract and flour. Process again.
- Roll out one sheet of pastry. Use a pie plate or cake pan as a guide and cut out a 10″ – 11″ circle. Do the same with the other sheet. Refrigerate circles.
- Place the almond filling in the middle of one of the pastry circles leaving a 1.5″ edge all around.
- Place a favor in the almond paste. I used a Gogo today, but if you don’t have anything, you can use a dried bean.
- Place the second pastry circle on top of the first and seal the edges.
- Brush the top layer with the beaten egg and make slits for ventilation.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and dust with powdered sugar.
- Return cake to oven for another 12-15 minutes.
- Make sure you tell people about the favor in the cake before you serve it. You don’t want anyone cracking a tooth!