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 on Epiphany day family and friends gather together to eat this cake. But usually during all of January you can find this cake in pastry shops or people’s 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” and become King or Queen: a lucky charm or token, called fève in French, is hidden in the cake before baking. When eating this cake, the person that finds the fève becomes the King for the day (and can wear a golden paper crown) and can chose his Queen or vice versa.
In serving the pieces of cake, the tradition is for the youngest person to place themselves under the table and call out the names of those present, determining the order in which pieces are served. This way, the pieces are handed out at random (and with an air of fun and ceremony) and no one can guess ahead of time 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 homemade. It is very easy and I recommend that you try it. It is worth it. 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 here for the Galette des Rois recipe. Or you can follow step-by-step pictures on my blog http://www.celinescuisine.com/french-recipes/easy-french-dessert-galette-des-rois-or-kings-cake/