Galette des Rois - A Guide to French Pastries (2024)

Galette des Rois - A Guide to French Pastries (1)

What is it?

The Galette des Rois is essentially frangipane encased within puff pastry and decorated by making cuts in the surface of the pastry. It's served in slices and can be eaten both hot and cold.

What's the story?

We're glad you asked. Every year on the feast of the Epiphany this particular treat takes center stage, as families across France enjoy a final indulgence to mark the end of the festive season. This is a tradition that goes back to the 14th century, so it's only fair that if you're in Paris during January you get in on the act.

It's called Galette des Rois - the Cake of the Kings - in tribute to the three kings that arrived bearing gifts on the Epiphany. Of course, during the French Revolution - when being a King could lose you not just your popularity but your head - the name was changed to Gâteau de l'égalité orthe cake of equality.

Enjoying a Galette des Rois is not just about putting the kettle on and blithelycutting yourself a slice to enjoy with a nice cup of Earl Grey. It's a little more involved than that!First, the youngest member of the party must sit under the table. Obviously. Then, they must call out the name of arecipient for each newly sliced piece of cake. Why? You may well ask.

The trick here is that hidden somewherewithin the galette is theféve -theliteral translation beinga bean -for some lucky recipient to find. If they find it in their slice, they canclaim the golden crown which is always provided along with a galette des rois, as in the photograph above. By calling out the names at random the child under the table ensures the randomness of the winner.

Today, it may still be called aféve, butit isn't actually a bean.Why was it ever a bean? I hear you ask. Well, one theory is that theRomans heldtheir winterfeasts and hid a bean in one of the dishes - hailing the finder of theféveKing of the Feast. Come Christianity, thetradition of thefévebecame part of the Epiphany galette des roistradition, and here we are, with childrenunder tables yelling out namesand hopeful friends and family members eating carefully to avoid crunching down on a porcelain or plastic figurine - these days, they can be anything at all, and people collect the little charms for years and years!

If you arent able to get here this year, book mark it for next!Wondering where to buy your Galette des Rois in Paris? We have a map for that! Check it out just here!

So how can I make it?

A quick little recipe for you to play with at home! You will need :

Two Store bought puff pastry (or make them yourself): one for the bottom and one for the top of the Galette

Almond Cream

110 g Sugar

110 g butter

2 eggs (100g)

110 g ground almonds

20 g flour

Pastry Cream

250 g milk

1 egg

25 g cornstarch

60 g sugar

1 Vanilla bean

Instructions for fillings :

Prepare Almond Cream : Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and mix till creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until completely combined. Add the ground almonds and flour and mix well.

Prepare Pastry Cream : Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla. Beat the egg with the sugar until the mixture is pale and thick, and stir in the starch.Pour some of the milk into that mixture, stir, then pour back into the saucepan. Heat gently, and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove from the heat and transfer into a large bowl. Set aside to cool.

When Pastry cream is cool, mix together almond cream and pastry cream.

Assembly :

This is where your creative juices can flow! You will need a very sharp knife / razor blade

Cut two circles (large or small depending on what you prefer).Place one circle on a baking sheet and pipe the Frangipane garnish onto the dough (we use a pastry bag and usually pipe in a winding circle form), leaving ½ inch border on the outside. Push a trinket into the cream. Brush the border with egg wash. Top with the other circle and press down firmly on the edges to seal. Turn upside down to hide possible finger marks. With the tip of a knife, make a hole on top of the Galette.

Brush the entire top with eggwash. Leave to rest in the fridge for 30mn. Brush with eggwash again, then use a small sharp knife /razor to make decorative cuts. Bake at 190°C for 30 to 40 mins (depending on size) or till golden brown and puffy. Brush with sugar syrup immediately after taking out of the oven.

Prepare to enjoy! Don't forget to have a crown ready for you if you are making individuals, or for whomever finds the fève!

Galette des Rois - A Guide to French Pastries (2024)


Galette des Rois - A Guide to French Pastries? ›

What is it? The Galette des Rois is essentially frangipane encased within puff pastry and decorated by making cuts in the surface of the pastry. It's served in slices and can be eaten both hot and cold.

What is special about a galette des rois? ›

Everyone enjoys the “Galette des Rois” ritual because each pie is sold with a small porcelain trinket baked into it, and a paper crown on the side.

What are the rules for galette des rois? ›

Tradition dictates that when serving galette des rois, the entire cake should be divided such that each guest receives a slice, plus an extra, symbolic slice for any unexpected visitor, or poor person, that should pass by.

Are there different types of galette des rois? ›

Over the centuries, the Galette des Rois has evolved and many variations have emerged. Today, there are different types of galettes, such as the Galette des Rois with apples, nuts, spices, or candied fruit. You can also find the Brioche des Rois, a soft and sweet version of the traditional galette.

What do the French drink while eating the galette des rois? ›

The best wines to pair with galette des rois

The best food and wine pairings with a frangipane puff pastry are a sweet white wine or a sparkling wine. Indeed, Champagnes go well with this sweet and gourmet dessert.

What do you hide in Galette des Rois? ›

The trick here is that hidden somewhere within the galette is the féve - the literal translation being a bean - for some lucky recipient to find. If they find it in their slice, they can claim the golden crown which is always provided along with a galette des rois, as in the photograph above.

What is the English name for Galette des Rois? ›

This also explains the name of the dessert that's eaten on this day, the galette des rois, which translates to “kings' cake”. It's similar to the king cake served in New Orleans in the U.S., a nod to the state's French influence; but in France it's not multi-colored, and it's only served on or around Epiphany.

What do French people do to avoid cheating when serving the galette des rois? ›

Tradition dictates that when serving galette des rois, the entire cake should be divided such that each family member or guest receives a slice. During the slicing, the youngest hides underneath the table to call out the name of a person to receive each slice in turn so the server can't be accused of playing favorites!

What do you serve with galette des rois? ›

Of course, we'll start with a dry white wine such as a Loire chenin for example, or a round chardonnay. These are natural wines that often go well with fish, but they will also go very well with your galette des rois. Plain sparkling wines can also be a very good match for your galette des rois.

What is a fun tradition for families while eating galette des rois? ›

We call the act of sharing the Kings' cake “tirer les rois”. This literally means “to draw the kings”. Indeed according to tradition, the youngest member of the family or smallest host, must go under the table. He is the one who decides whom will get each slice.

What is the difference between king cake and galette des rois? ›

The Difference in Mardi Gras King Cake and Galette des Rois

One is VIBRANT. While the traditional Galette des Rois is more simple in design with the puff pastry as the star as the show, the Mardi Gras King Cake is covered in icing and Mardi Gras-colored sugar.

Does galette des rois need to be refrigerated? ›

Serving: This is a really casual dessert, meant to be cut into in wedges and served with a glass of sweet wine. Storage: Keep the galette at room temperature on the day it is baked. Wrap leftovers in plastic and keep at room temperature.

What is the meaning of pain des rois? ›

We Choose a name that can represent both the activity of the brand and the luxuries looks that it stands for. After a lot of research, we came out with “Pain des Rois” A French name that is translated to “King's Bread” hence the high-quality. pastries we make.

What is the Spanish equivalent of galette des rois? ›

The Galette des Rois is also popular further south in Mexico. Known as Rosca de Reyes, the king cake of Mexico is a bread that is shaped like a wreath and is topped with candied fruits.

What does galette des rois taste like? ›

Even if you do not celebrate Epiphany, this galette is a great treat to make for a special occasion (or any occasion). If you were to ask me what a galette des rois tastes like, my response would be something along the lines of: buttery puff pastry stuffed with the filling of a double baked almond croissant.

Is galette des rois sweet? ›

In a nutshell, a galette des rois is a sweet pie made with puff pastry. Inside, you'll typically find frangipane, a cream of almonds, butter, eggs and sugar. The Cordon Bleu recipe adds a splash of rum. However, you'll also find versions filled with apple, chocolate, caramel…

What is special about the galette made for the French president? ›

Hidden inside each galette is a surprise; a little porcelain charm/trinket/figurine. If you're not aware and chomp down gustily into the cake you could be in for an unplanned visit to the dentist!

What are the characteristics of galette? ›

Galettes refer to the catch-all term for a pastry base, topped with either sweet or savoury fillings with the edges roughly folded in to create a gorgeous, rustic-looking bake.

What are some fun facts about the galette? ›

A galette is a term used in French cuisine for various types of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes. One notable type is the galette des Rois ('King cake') eaten on the day of Epiphany. In Quebec, the term galette is usually applied to pastries best described as large cookies.

Which is the most famous galette in France? ›

In France, when the new year begins, all French people are waiting for one thing : eating their first galette des rois.

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