The Galette des Rois

Modified – Originally posted 29 December 2011

“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” – Julia Child

The Galette des Rois

Galette de Roi
Galette de Roi

Celebrating the Feast of Kings.
At this time of year you will see Galette du Roi (or La Galette des Rois) in all the boulangeries in France. The Galette, which celebrates the biblical three kings, appears in the New Year around Epiphany, or the Feast of the Kings. This is normally celebrated in France on the first Sunday (after the first Saturday) in January. Despite this fact, I did get a whiff of warm from the oven galettes in the shop just a few days ago.  Being on my own, I managed to resist temptation of being forced to eat the entire thing. I have no doubt there will be plenty on offer in the weeks to come. Besides, such a treat demands it be shared with friends.

The typical Galette du Roi of the Indre is made of flaky pastry like a pie and filled with frangipane, an almond cream paste. There are regional variations, and some enterprising bakeries offer a different filling for every day in January. However, if you purchase it in a supermarket or discount store, it will be a factory made pastry with the basic filling. Inside the cake is a very small ceramic figurine called a fève ( a bean, which is what they put in galettes long ago). The person who finds the fève is declared the king (le roi) or the queen (la reine) and gets to wear the paper crown that comes with the galette.

If there is no French pâtisserie where you are, I have included a recipe. Don’t be intimidated by its origin as you can use pre-made puff pastry/phyllo dough and have great results. The photo was taken at the pâtisserie of two delightful and slightly mischievous elves known as Valérie & Nadine.

Valirie et N
Valérie  et Nadine H


1/2 cup ground almonds
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup of sugar
2 sheets puff pastry
powdered sugar


Grind almonds in food processor
Beat sugar and butter
add two (2) of the eggs and almonds.
You now have Frangipane!
Butter a flat baking sheet
unfold thawed puff pastries and using a pie pan as a template cut into two circles
Lay one circle on buttered sheet then spread Frangipane in the center
and if you like, place a dried fava bean or ceramic figure in the Frangipane
Using the last egg, beat and paint the edges of the dough
Place the other dough circle on top and seal the edges very tight!
Brush top with egg.
Bake ~ 25-30 min at 375

The galette is quite rich and it will serve 12 people.



28 thoughts on “The Galette des Rois

  1. Ooh this looks delicious Lea! It goes against my MS diet though but I guess I could cheat at xmas time! Id have to get someone to make it hough, its a little fiddly for me with one hand 😊xxx

    1. You heat up the soup and I’ll bring the galette… I promise we shall have a great time and even better if there are a few of the little people to save us from indulging to much. :)) xxx

  2. It seems to me many of the French pastries use almond for flavoring. I fell in love with the flavor when I was there, and though I’ve made and purchased almond-flavored treats here in the US, I’ve never been able to recapture that wonderful taste and texture of the French pastry. Perhaps I’ll have to give this recipe a try…

  3. Only in France Lea, I remember the pastries/bread and have never been able to find it anywhere as good. I have the memory of a bike rider, with a bread stick under his arm rolling by and the awesome smell of the bakery, when reading this.

    1. Absolutely! Jacques, the baker, often wakes me up in the morning when my windows are open. The bakery is only a few doors away and when the yeast starts rising… 🙂

    1. Of course the simple act of cutting one open allows all trace of calories to disappear! 🙂 No doubt you believe that… 😉 XOXO

  4. Bonne année, bonne santé !
    Having lived in France for seven years, I became familiar with the galette du roi, and often ended up wearing a gold cardboard crown. One year, on different occasions, I found the fève three times! By that time I had learned to bite carefully into my slice, for fear of damaging my teeth.

    1. Ah yes, the bean can be a bit so navigate… Yet, a small price to be here. I’ve been here just over seven years and cannot imagine being anywhere else.
      Bonne année et bonne santé! 🙂 Léa

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