Thursday, January 31, 2013

Galette des Rois


So now that January is over... it's time for a post on baking a Galette des Rois... FALSE. Let's just pretend I posted this in the middle of January when it would have been more appropriate. Everyone knows you only eat this dessert in January right?

Well since that doesn't seem to be common knowledge and since I don't live in France anymore, let's live a little and do a blog post now! Feel free to make one anytime of the year, I promise not to tell anyone.

My mom requested I make her a galette des rois (That's King's Cake for all you non-frenchies) for her birthday since it falls in January. I had never made one before, so my mom pulled a recipe off the internet for me to follow. Click here for the original recipe.

I took some pictures of the process and some of the actual birthday party to also note some of the traditions that go along with the King's Cake festivities. Please note that this will not be a history lesson and maybe different people celebrated it differently than our family did. This is more of a celebration of the memories of my childhood. This was always a favorite time of the year, since I have three sisters my parents bought this cake quite frequently the whole month at the local patisserie to ensure we would each have a turn finding the fève. 

Fève? I'll explain that too.

Do you like dessert? Do you wish there were toys hiding in your food? Do you wish you could be a king for a day? Then Galette des Rois is for you! Bonus points if you don't like your cakes too sweet!

Since there are so many pictures, I'm breaking this post up. Click below to see the full post

First off, let me explain the fève situation. When you buy one of these cakes, there will be a little ceramic figurine hidden inside. Whoever finds the little figurine gets to be King for the day. My mom saved some from our time overseas, here's a picture:

 So if you don't have a fève, the recipe calls for a dried fava bean. If you choose to put something else in the cake, just make sure it's large enough that you won't accidentally swallow it but also not huge so that you can easily see it when you cut the pieces. It would also help if it would be something that wouldn't melt or explode when you bake it. Just a thought.

So the first part of the recipe calls for making the almond filling, or the frangipane. I prefer to say almond filling, I didn't even know frangipane was a word until reading that recipe.

If you don't have almond meal, it's easy to make by grinding up almonds in a food processor. Just grind them until they are fine and have a flour like consistency.

When you have 1/2 cup ground almond meal, you add the egg, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour to the food processor and blend it until it forms a creamy paste.

The arrow in the following picture is pointing at the almond meal in the food processor.

Set your filling aside for the moment. It won't seem like you have enough, but no worries. I worried already for the both of us, and it turned out fine.

Take out your thawed puff pastry sheets ( I just used store bought), roll them out and  using a cake pan as a guide, cut them each in an 11" circle.

Place one of the circles on a lined cookie sheet and spread the filling out in the middle, leaving about 1.5" on the sides. Then "hide" the feve somewhere in the filling. Don't put it too close to the middle or it will be more likely to be visible when cut into pieces. 


 Next, place your other circle on top, pinch the edges, score a design with a knife on the top (don't go all the way through) and glaze it with a beaten egg. It will look flat and you might be scared that it will be the dinkiest cake ever, but it will rise (a lot!) when it bakes.

Bake it for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Take it out and dust with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. I didn't measure, I might have gone a little overboard with it.

Then bake it for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until it turns golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, recruit a sister and force her lovingly ask her to create a paper crown for the king. Let your kids decorate it.

 Now admire your work:

When it's time to cut the cake, you need to serve the whole cake or the feve might get left behind. Then no one will be king. Also, since there is a chance the feve will be visible, the youngest person gets to hide under the table. As you cut the pieces ask the person under the table who gets the next piece. Otherwise, everyone will be fighting over that piece with the visible feve. And if you are serving this with family, I bet the fight will be epic. So don't forget to stick someone under the table.

We let both Kylie and Eve hide under the table. For some reason, this was the best picture I had:

 My slice didn't have anything sticking out of it:

We all ate in silence, each one of us hoping we would be the lucky King. And then my sister Stephanie victoriously yelled "I got it!" and Kylie almost cried. She wanted to be the king the most. 

Steph wins! All Hail King Stephanie!

You get bonus points if you serve the cake on french plates. Like these Tintin ones my mom collected:

 My mom wanted the obligatory picture with her birthday cake:

 She also wanted one with all the girls. Sadly my sister Kelly thought being in college was more important than Mom's birthday so she wasn't there. And Dad and Jason weren't in the picture because they aren't girls.
My mom didn't think that picture was that great, so she wanted a normal one where no one was upside down. She told us to smile like we were sorority girls, and we didn't make fun of her too much because it was her birthday:
And she also wanted one with just her grandkids, here you go Mom, happy birthday!


  1. I don't even know where to start with my comments. So first I will say, good job Kristin! That is the funnest birthday cake ever!!! Well except for the part of people getting mad and sad and children crying...

    I love the feves. Will you go back to France and get me one? What are the words on the bottom? In the food processor, what is the brown ingredient near the almond meal? It looks like brown sugar, but I don't see it in the ingredients you used. I don't have a food processor, will you buy me one? When did Rachel develop all her crown making talent? Who do you put under the table if there are no children available? Why haven't you been helping Kylie and Eve develop their sorority smiles? And since I am a college drop out, is it possible for me to develop a sorority smile?

    When you get an extra hour, you can answer all my questions Kristin :)

  2. I forgot to tell Stephanie congratulations!!

  3. Sara, I have NO IDEA what the other brown stuff is in the food processor. There wasn't any brown sugar. It must be almond meal as well. Also, I messed up on the recipe, I used powdered sugar instead of regular sugar like the recipe calls for, hence why there is powdered sugar in the food processor. So I guess I will just have to make this again! I made plenty of almond meal, so I have a jump start on the next one. Maybe we should get together and play pitch and have one of these cakes? It's really bugging me that it looks like there is brown sugar, I have no idea what's going on! You always have to put someone under the table, I was explaining the rules to a friend and she said this would be fun to do in the nursing home since you have to put the youngest under the table! You might have to ask my mom about the sorority smile thing, she's the expert!

  4. Oh my dear Kristin, thanks so much for this great blog! When I'm old and can't remember anything from when I was "young," I'll be able to read this and smile : )

  5. I like your playing pitch and having this cake idea....sign me up! Funny about the nursing home!