Galette des Rois (King Cake)

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!

Enjoy.

  • 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.
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  • Bunkycooks

    This is beautiful and seems to be very simple. Love that! Will you save me a slice with the la feve so that I can be Queen someday? ;) I am on the strictest of diets, so no sweets for me right now (boo hiss).

  • http://gregoiremichaud.com Gregoire Michaud

    Looks so yummy! I could have a whole galette by myself just for gourmandise AND I would be assured to be the King!! Muahahaha ;)

  • http://twitter.com/KitchenM Em

    I’ve seen this on a Japanese person’s blog and I was wondering what it was and how it was made (she didn’t share the recipe). I have some leftover frangipane from making tarts. I might try making a smaller version of this.

  • http://www.lacerise.blogspot.com Astrid

    Hiding in a closet to eat a whole galette, I’m sure Louis XVI would approve!
    Some traditional recipes for frangipane require you to make a crème pâtissière first, and then mix in a mixture of eggs, sugar, butter and almonds. Do you know if the result is worth the extra effort?

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    Sigh. I miss la galette des rois. Have yet to find a decent one here in Toronto and my pastry skills are not quite up to it. yet. In the meantime I will swoon over yours!

  • http://chimeraobscura.com/mi/ Amy (Minimally Invasive)

    Oh, I need this gorgeous dessert! I grew up with the much humbler New Orleans version of the King Cake, but have always wanted to try this. Now I have no excuse beyond my own laziness/fear of baking, but if anything can overcome those hurdles, it’s frangipane. Mmmmm…

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Pour mon anniv! Trop sympa, merci Votre Majesté! Des bises!

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    I’ve never heard of this, I love how it’s paired with puff pastry! And I love the name!

  • Anonymous

    nicely done chef! nice!

  • http://www.debishawcross.com Debi (Table Talk)

    Reading a tempting post like this so soon after entering Christmas cookie detox is dangerous!
    Lovely dessert~

  • Anonymous

    That’s *exactly* what i did! hehe :)

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think i ever had the version with crème pâtissière + frangipane. I’m curious now. Let me know if you do try it.

  • Anonymous

    Oops, j’ai oublie les bougies! :)

  • Ju (The Little Teochew)

    Beautiful! I never knew it would be so easy. I will give this a try the next time I am feeling regal. Question, if the entire top is brushed with egg wash, why is there a darkish outline only around the rim?

  • Anonymous

    haha.. good question, Ju. I think the egg wash has accumulated a little more around the edge of the cake which would explain the darker color.

  • http://www.noobcook.com noobcook

    definitely looks good enough for royalty! :)

  • http://www.nomadwithcookies.com Sara from Texas

    Remember making this cake in culinary school. So simple, but so delicious!

  • http://www.chichoskitchen.blogspot.com Cherine

    Looks wonderful!

  • http://www.FrenchTwistDC.com FrenchtwistDC

    it;s one of my childhood favourite too. As a january baby that doesn’t eat chocolate, it made sense for me to have a galette des rois for my birthday cake every year.

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    C’est pas grave, c’est pas grave, tu te rattraperas sur ton prochain post. Comment, non? :-P

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Kathryn

    That cake is absolutely gorgeous! We’d love if you could enter it into theRecipe4Living 5th Birthday Contest! You could win a huge gift basket full of Scharffen Berger gourmet chocolate!

  • http://gourmandeinthekitchen.com sylvie@gourmandeinthekitchen

    Nicely done! This is one of my favorites too. Like you said, I love the fact that it’s easy to make and comes together rather quickly but looks so impressive.

  • tuzin

    just one thing, shouldn’t it be three wise men cake? it’s eaten the 6th of january, celebrating the visit of the 3 wise men to baby jesus (according to the bible). Another thing is that it’s galette des rois (les trois rois mages being the three wise men).
    Or is this the name you have for the galette in the states?

  • Anonymous

    While epiphany is a religious holiday, the galette des rois origins are different. I read it goes back to the Romans when on “Saturnal” celebrations the young soldier who picked the slice of cake with the charm in it was named “King” and ruled over his comrades for a day. The tradition has been celebrated throughout centuries to finally be established on epiphany. It’s now, of course, associated with the rois mages.

  • tuzin

    oooh, I love it when you learn a good recipe and a good history lesson to boot, thanks zenchef.

  • http://twitter.com/ChezWhat Christo

    comment tally vous?

  • http://www.lacerise.blogspot.com Astrid

    Hi thanks for the response. I’ve made it several times, including this year, it tastes good, but I can’t compare it to your version. Recipes that include crème pâtissière include: Larousse des desserts (Hermé), Mercotte, Ateliers des chefs (http://www.atelierdeschefs.fr/fr/dossier/9-galette-frangipane.ph – great site by the way…). According to these frangipane = crème pâtissière + crème d’amandes. One blog (can’t remember which) seemed to suggest that the crème pâtissière is a baker’s sneaky way of thinning the crème d’amande with cheaper ingredients, but I’m not convinced that’s the reason why others use it. I’m just curious.

  • http://charliebakes.blogspot.com/ Charlie Bakes

    Bonjour,
    My name is Charlie and I am 12 years old. I really liked your post.
    I also made a Galette des Rois on my blog CharlieBakes: http://bit.ly/h74vfX
    Please check out my collection of fêves.
    Thanks,
    Charlie
    P.S. Je suis franco-americaine.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for stopping by Charlie. I saw your Galette des Rois in your blog and it looks fantastic! Keep it up!

  • Anonymous

    Not bad Christo! How have you been?