Galette des Rois for the Epiphany



We got our lovely “Galette des Rois” (Cake of the Kings) today for the feast of the Epiphany. I’ve been celebrating the Epiphany in this way since my days of living in Paris and have been so happy to pass this tradition on to the girls. They look forward to it every year and we seem have quite a few patisseries in New York who make these now. We got ours from Maison Kayser on Bleecker Street this year.

And here is a brief history of this delicacy:

The Galette des Rois is a cake traditionally shared at Epiphany, on 6 January. It celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem.

Composed of a puff pastry cake, with a small charm, the “fève”, hidden inside, is usually filled with frangipane, a cream made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs and sugar. But more gourmet versions are available for us to enjoy, with chocolate, apple or candied fruits. Every year, the leading French pâtissiers offer exclusive creations for the tradition of crowning the one who finds the fève.

In the past, the pastry would be cut into as many portions as there were guests, plus one. The last one, called the “part du pauvre” or poor man’s share, was for the first poor person who stopped by the house. In the south of France, the traditional dessert is not a puff pastry but a brioche with fruit, also containing a fève, and known as the gâteau des rois. It is made from a sweet brioche dough flavoured with orange flower essence, shaped into a crown, with pieces of red fruit and sugar on top. They even played “find the king” at the table of Louis XIV. The ladies of the court who found the fève became queens of France for a day and could ask the king to grant them a wish called “grâces et gentillesse”. But the Sun King, Louis XIV, was to abolish this custom.


And  here is a cute little, and very easy 3 Kings Craft!

One thought on “Galette des Rois for the Epiphany”

  1. Great article! Thanks Jeanne. Hope you all enjoyed your scrumptious Cake of the Kings on the feast of the Epiphany! 🙂

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