What’s served all over France during the month of January and hides a treasure inside? A delicious and rich cake that’s easy to make with a few ingredients including Trader Joe’s ready-to-use almond meal and frozen puff pastry.
In France, we celebrate Epiphany day with a cake called: Galette des Rois or kings cake. Usually the first Sunday of January, family and friends gather together to eat this cake. During all of January you can find this cake in pastry shops or peoples’ homes. In the North of France we eat the Pithiviers cake, a puff pasty filled with frangipane – mixture of almond meal, eggs, sugar. In the South of France we eat couronne des rois, a torus-shaped brioche with candied fruits.
Kids love this tradition since they can “tirer les Rois” (become King or Queen). A lucky charm or token, called fève, is hidden in the cake before baking. The person who finds the fève becomes the King for the day (wearing a golden paper crown) and choses his Queen or vice versa.
In serving the cake, the tradition is for the youngest person to sit under the table calling out the names of those present, determining the order in which pieces are served. This way, no one can guess which piece contains the prized token.
From December to mid February in France, you can buy la Galette at any pastry shop, bakery, patisserie or boulangerie or like me you can make it at home. It is very easy, and the sugar, almond, and butter/egg cream make it fancy and delicious.
No need to limit this dessert to January; I make it all year long. Kings cake is one of my kids’ favorite dessert or fancy snack. It’s great with a cup of tea or coffee and fun to take to a party or book club meeting.
Click below to see the step-by-step pictures and recipe for the Galette des Rois.