And what do French eat for La Fête des Rois

After Christmas… comes the Epiphany

Christmas is just a few days behind and with January comes a new celebration French people do not miss. Especially, because it comes with a delicious dessert and a small game. How do the French celebrate epiphany?

What happened on January 6th?

The Epiphanny is celebrated on January 6th. It is a Christian celebration to honor the arrival of the three wise men or Magi – Balthazar, Gaspard and Melchior. They bring gifts to baby Jesus and in manty countries, kids receive gifts on that specific day. In France, the “Fêtes des rois”, or Kings Day is mostly celebrated with a very special kind of dessert. This dessert is called “La Galette des Rois” or King’s Cake. The Epiphany is also the beginning of Carnaval season. Which is Mardi Gras on Ash Wednesday (which is the day you must eat Crêpes).

About la Galette des Rois

How do the French celebrate epiphany? And what do they eat? The King’s cake has many recipes but the most traditional one is a round cake (sImbolizing the sun) made with puff pastry and frangipane. Inside each cake, a small charm made of porcelain or earthenware is hiden. The person who finds the charm in his cake is the King or Queen of the day.

To avoid any cheating, traditions says the youngest person must go under the table. Usually, it will be a child announcing who the piece of cake is going for. Also, traditionnally, families always cut an extra piece of cake and they leave it for the poor or an unnanounced visitor.

Find your Galette des Rois at the bakery Eric Kayser

If you become the King or Queen, you might have some privileges, such as getting out of any duties for the rest of the day. However, the King or Queen may also be assigned as the person to make the crêpes for Mardi Gras. Most of the Boulangeries sell cakes with the charm already inside and a golden crown. The King or Queen can wear the crown for the remainder of the day and look fabulous.

In the south of France, traditions are a little different and the Galette des Rois is replaced by another type of king cake called “Gâteau des Rois” or “Couronne des Rois” (kings crown). This cake is closer to a brioche or a sweet bread and it’s usually topped with candied fruit and white sugar.

How to make a traditional Galette des Rois

Puff pastry and almond flour

To make a traditional Galette des Rois you need a very good quality, made of butter puff pastry and almond flour.

Combine butter and sugar first. Then, add the almond flour and some salt and eggs. This will be your filling that you will put on one pastry dough. Before covering with the second pastry dough, don’t forget to hide the lucky charm. Once you applied the second layer of pastry, let it rest for an hour. Our secret is to flip over the cake before decorting it with a knife and finishing with a brunch of egg yolk. Bake and serve with apple cider!

See the entire recipe by the New York Times here.

Galette des Rois by Le Notre

We recommend you serve the Galette in a Basalt plate. If you made the cake in advance, just reheat it in your oven directly on the Basalt plate. Indeed, Much better than slate, this plate will have the same look with many more features!