Homemade Galette des Rois

There are pros and cons to being a January baby. After the holiday season, all your friends are broke and on a diet. But on the plus side, I get to have galette des rois as my birthday cake. Galette des rois is the French king cake, the sweet dessert that celebrates epiphany (we have a cake for every occasion now don’t we?). It’s very different from the one made in Louisiana during the carnival season, and over the years my Cajun husband and I have agreed to disagree on which one is better. Since there is no chocolate involved, I am happy to have either kind of king cake really 😉

A couple of years ago, before my husband went all carb-free and paleo on me, I attempted to make my own Louisiana king cake, with a cream-cheese filling which is how he prefers it. It actually worked out really well, except I had purple, yellow and green sprinkles all over my kitchen for weeks 😉 I had never tried making the frangipane filled French king cake… until today… Since it was my first try, I sought out a recipe that was not too ambitious, with store-bought puff pastry for the crust and almond paste for the frangipane. My first cake was a little flat and not quite round and I didn’t do a good job with the scoring at the top. My second one looked better except I didn’t seal it properly and some of the frangipane came out… oh well, rookie mistake… both tasted great nonetheless and were surprisingly easy to make. Here’s the recipe I used:

Galette des Rois
Serves 8 (though really I think I could have eaten a whole one by myself)
1/4 cup almond paste 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 tablespoon confectioners sugar
1 fève or dried bean
Sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Step one: the frangipane. Purée together the almond paste, granulated sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt in a blender or food processor. Add 2 egg, vanilla, and almond extract and purée until incorporated. Add flour and mix until smooth. 
Step two: the crust. Roll out 1 puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it’s large enough to cut out an 11-inch round (I used an inverted pie dish and the tip of a pairing knife.) Transfer the round to a buttered large baking sheet and refrigerate while you work on the top crust. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry and repeat the procedure from the first sheet. 

Step three: assemble it all together. This is where it gets a little tricky. Start by beating the last egg in a bowl. Grab the first round of puff pastry from the fridge and brush the edges of the round of puff pastry with it (see picture on the right). Then spread the frangipane mixture in the center. Don’t forget to place the fève or bean in there somewhere if you are using one. Grab the second round of puff pastry and place it on top of the one with the frangipane on it. Then brush the top round with the egg wash and seal the two rounds together. Using the tip of a knife, you’re also supposed to make some pretty slits through the pastry. This video is in French, but skip to the 4th minute (4:13 to be exact) and you’ll see how easy the chef pâtissier makes it look. I guess with a little practice I’ll get there too someday. Bake the galette in the middle rack of your oven for 13-15 minutes. It should start to turn a pretty golden colour. Remove it from the oven briefly to dust it with a little confectioners sugar and sliced almonds and bake again at the top of your oven until the brown deepens, another 12-15 minute more. After that, cool the galette for a few minutes and serve warm.

Remember, the tradition is for the youngest person in the room to go under the table and call out who gets which slice. The person who finds the fève or bean gets to be the king or queen! 

One thought on “Homemade Galette des Rois

  1. Laetitia- thank you for posting this recipe! I had always been nervous about making galette des rois, but used this last night and it was wonderful!


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