Epiphany: The Galette des Rois


"La galette des Rois (the cake or "wafer" of the Kings) is a cake celebrating the Epiphany and traditionally sold and consumed a few days before and after this date. Epiphany, has a variable date - it can either be 6 January or the first Sunday of the month-.

In modern France, the cakes can be found in most bakeries during the month of January. The cake consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane, a buttery almond filling.

Tradition holds that the cake is “to draw the kings” to the Epiphany. A figurine, “la fève”, which can represent anything from a car to a cartoon character, is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in their slice becomes king or queen for the day and will have to offer the next cake. Originally, “la fève” was literally a broad bean (fève), but they were replaced in 1870 by a variety of figurines out of porcelain or - more recently - plastic. These figurines have become popular collectibles and can often be bought separately. Individual bakeries may offer a specialized line of fèves depicting diverse themes from great works of art to classic movie stars and popular cartoon characters.
During the tirage des rois (the cutting of the cake), the person who pulls the fève (that is, who finds it in his/her slice of cake) becomes king or queen, receives a paper crown (provided by the bakery), and chooses a partner.
To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares, it is traditional for the youngest person to place themselves under the table and name the recipient of the share which is indicated by the person in charge of the service." sibo-sibon.wordpress.com.


sibo-sibon notes
. Formerly, one divided the cake in as many shares as guests, plus one. The latter, called the  "share of the poor" was intended for the first poor person to arrive at the home.
. Rules of etiquette do not allow the French President to “draw the kings” on Epiphany.



125 grams (1 cup) freshly ground almonds
100 grams (~7Tbl) softened butter
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
2 large eggs
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 ceramic fève
egg wash (one egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. of milk/water)
simple syrup – equal parts melted sugar and water (optional)


Roll out one the pastry sheets and cut a circle with a 10-inch diameter. Using the other pastry sheet, repeat and cut another circle, but make this one 10 1/2 inch in diameter. (This larger circle will go on the top of the filling later). Place both pastry rounds in the refrigerator to chill and rest for at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small/medium bowl, blend with a spoon the ground almonds, butter and sugar. Add one egg and mix until thoroughly combined. Now, add the second egg and mix again.
Preheat your oven to 475F.
Take the chilled rounds of pastry dough from the refrigerator and with a knife, gently score the larger disc. You can make large criss-crosses, spirals or whatever fancies you.
Lay the bottom pastry disc on a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Add the almond mixture and spread in an even layer (be careful to leave at least 1.5 inch space at the edge).
Nestle the fève into the filling.
Cover with the top pastry disc. Carefully seal and crimp the edges. With a knife, score the edges.
Brush the center of the cake (not the edges) with the egg wash.

Bake on a baking sheet at 475F for 10 minutes. Then lower the the heat to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes.

When the cake is done, remove from heat and while it is still hot, you can brush simple syrup over the entire cake. This will add a lovely sheen.
recipe by linternaute.com via holybasil.wordpress.com
images via sibo-sibon, naobossa.exblog.com via google

Bon Tirage des Rois

au revoir.


  1. I just found your beautiful blog via Tish Jett at A Femme d'un Certain Age and so glad I did. I'm an American living in Paris so I am excited to read the Transatlantic Parallel.
    I'll be following along and will be back soon!

  2. Yes, I know your blog through Tish's (she has a million friends and readers!) Your blog is magnificent! the images are beautiful, the blog is beautiful, the approach is great! No wonder you get all those awards. I can't wait to hear what you think of Transatlantic Parallel. Thank you for the very nice commentaire. A bientot.

  3. Hi Jeanne-Aelia! I love the gateau du roi! I 'm headed down to New Orleans tomorrow for a couple of weeks, hope I make in time for the cutting of the cake!

    Did I tell you how much I enjoy your blog?

  4. Have a great time and I hope you get the feve...

  5. Aloha, I am so glad to of dropped by to visit your lovely blog, I look forward to more visits
    New Year Wishes from across the Sea

  6. Thank you very much. I am very pleased you dropped by -and from across the Sea, not just any sea, no less- Bonne Annee et a bientot.