One of my childhood favorite, a galette des rois is a golden circle of buttery puff pastry filled with almond frangipane, and it is as simple as it is delicious. Inside the cake is a tiny figure or charm called la fève ; the person who gets the charm in his slice is crowned king, or queen, for the day. Of course, i was crowned King – one of the perks you get when you selfishly eat the whole galette while hiding from intruders in the closet.
The tradition of the galette des rois in France dates back to the middle ages. The French have had a little bit of a reputation of mistreating the Royals over the course of history and this dessert was even renamed “galette de l’égalité” (equality galette) while heads were rolling during the French revolution but since we’ve put the guillotine back in the attic let’s focus on what really matters: Who’s the king? Oh wait, we already went over that.
His Royal Highness won’t get into the hows and whys of making puff pastry from scratch today since it deserves a post of its own which His Highness will tackle one of these days but you can of course find some excellent tutorials online, like this one.
The frangipane can be made in the food processor in seconds. The galette des rois can be assembled in minutes. My own personal touch is to add a layer of a coarse almond sugar over the frangipane for an extra crunch. Hey, I’m the King. I can do whatever i want!
Galette des Rois (King Cake)
- Serves 4 to 6
For the galette des Rois:
- 1 puff pastry sheet
- 8 tablespoons soft butter
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted and ground
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk for eggwash
- Powdered sugar for glazing
For the galette des rois:
- Preheat oven to 425′F. Cut out two 9-inches circles of puff pastry. Prick one of them with a fork. Place on a tray lined with a silpat. Refrigerate.
- In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, 3/4 cup ground almonds, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, pinch of salt and almond extract if using. Process to obtain a smooth paste, add the flour and pulse to incorporate.
- In a small bowl combine the coarsely chopped almonds and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Spread the almond frangipane in the center of the pricked puff pastry circle leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the almond sugar over the frangipane. Brush the border with eggwash and top with the second circle of puff pastry. Seal the edge with your fingers or the back of a spoon. With a small knife, design a pattern on top of the galette being careful not to pierce the dough. Brush with the eggwash. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Bake at 425′F for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 350′F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Dust with some powdered sugar for the last 5 minutes of baking. Cool. Serve at room temperature.