January 5, 2019

Galette des Rois

Happy New Year! 

In France, the Galette des Rois is served on the Epiphany, the day the three kings (les rois) visited infant Jesus, on January 6th.  This galette is comprised of an almond filling sandwiched by buttery pastry dough...with a feve hidden in the dough.

The feve is typically a bean, but I used an almond. Sometimes, fancy little trinkets are baked into the pastry, and bakeries will compete with the feve.  In French bakeries, each galette comes with a crown. Who gets to wear the crown?  Whoever bites into the feve!

There are two basic types of galette des rois.  In North France, it is made of puff pastry and stuffed with a dense, creamy almond paste, known as frangipane. In South France, it is a brioche cake covered with candied fruit.  In Western France, there are berry and chocolate fillings.

When serving the galette, it should be divided so that each person receives a slice, along with an extra slice.  The extra slice has been known as the share of a god, share of the Virgin Mary. And the share of the poor. The idea with slicing the entire pastry is to ensure that everyone has a fair shot to “tirer les rois,” or draw the kings, from the cake.  The feve represents the king.  Whoever discovers the feve is declared king or queen for the day and gets to wear the crown!

For a French pastry, this is simple to make. Instead of making pastry dough, you could use premade puff pastry.  I tried a unique pastry dough recipe from King Arthur Flour that uses sour cream. It turned out great! 

As I learned from pastry classes in Paris, the key to flaky pastry involves folding the dough, and this dough yielded "tres bon" flakiness. After making the dough, it needs to be refrigerated to chill.  When ready to bake, you’ll make an almond filling for it.  Roll the dough out, top it with the filling, add the feve of choice, and glaze the pastry, and bake!

The galette des rois reminds me a little of an almond croissant: buttery flaky goodness with a not too sweet almond filling.  This is a lovely pastry that is the perfect accompaniment for a morning cup of tea...or coffee ( I don't drink coffee!).  

Happy New Year!  Here's to a sweet year ahead!

Galette des Rois

180 grams all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) cold butter
1/2 cup sour cream

2/3 cup almond paste
6 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
40 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon cold water

1 almond

To make the crust:  Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut the butter into pats, and work it into the flour mixture until unevenly crumbly.  Then, stir in the sour cream. The dough will be craggy in texture. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until the dough feels a little smoother.

Next, pat  the dough into a  square and roll it into a  8" x 10" rectangle. Make sure the area is well dusted with flour that you can move it around easily.

Starting with one of the shorter ends, fold the dough into thirds like a letter.  Flip it over (so the open flap is on the bottom), and turn it 90°. Roll the dough into an 8" x 10" rectangle again.  Fold it into thirds again. Wrap the dough in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet, line with a silicone liner, or line  with parchment.

To make the filling, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until thoroughly combined.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, and mix  until combined. Next, mix in the flours. Once combined, set aside.

Next, make the glaze. Whisk the egg yolk and water together in a small bowl and set aside.

Divide the pastry dough in half. Roll one half into a 10" square. Using a 10"-round template (a dinner plate or a cake pan), cut a 10" circle.  Set the circle onto the prepared baking sheet.

Roll the other piece of dough into an 11" square. Cut an 11" circle.

Next, spread the filling over the smaller circle, leaving a 1" rim around the edge of the pastry.  Place a whole almond in a random spot on top of the filling.

Brush some glaze over the uncovered edge of the pastry.  Then, center the larger round of dough over the filled bottom crust, and smooth it over the filling. Using a fork, press and crimp the edge of the galette to seal.

Decorate the pastry by using the back of a knife to trace a pattern on the surface.  Poke a vent hole in the center, and four additional small slits at other random spots, hiding the slits in the pattern you've drawn.

Brush an even coat of the glaze over the surface of the galette then bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Remove the galette from the oven, and cool it slightly right on the baking sheet.  Serve galette warm or at room temperature.

Source: King Arthur Flour


  1. Wish I had a slice to enjoy with my morning tea right now...it looks delicious.

  2. This was delicious and wonderful to try on Epiphany. I also love the history of the dessert in this post.

  3. I've never tried making this but I think making the decorations with the knife might be a challenge for me! Almond cream and puff pastry together- what a combo!


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