Galette des rois history of frangipane delight

Galette des rois, also called king cake, is a specific cake made during epiphany in several countries such as France, Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland.

What is galette des rois

Galette des rois, also called king cake, is a specific cake made during epiphany in several countries such as France, Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland.

Galette des rois translation is kings cake.

It consists of flaky puff pastry layers (also called pate feuilletée), with a dense center of either creme frangipane (sweet filling made with almonds) or apple filling.

What’s the Difference? Frangipane vs. Marzipan
Try a galette des rois with a cheap flight to Strasbourg, France

Galette des rois history

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Originally coming from Epiphany, on 6th of January, which is the day on which the three kings brought gifts to the Christ child. The galette des rois can be served up until the Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, which also corresponds to the start of the carnival season, in the beginning of February.

The cake represents the possibility for anybody to become a king by doing a simple gesture, in that case finding the hidden feve, a ceramic king cake feves being a ceramic figurine hidden inside the cake, and becoming king for the day.

It is a great reason to visit France and try a tasty and special cake!

Galette des rois tradition

For more than 3 centuries, the tradition of the kingcakes is very strong in France and other places, where it is possible to find the gateau du roi in all shops, street markets, supermarkets, and bakeries in the country.

Each of them have their own recipe, and some say that the best of them can be found in Northeast of France, for example in the small town of Sarrebourg, from where the 2018 World's best restaurant pastry chef, Christelle Brua working at 3 Michelin star Le Pré Catalan since 2003, is originating.

Christelle Brua winner of the 2018 Valrhona Prize for the World's Best Restaurant Pastry Chef
Le Pré Catalan Michelin star restaurant

Galette des rois serving

Plan your trip to Strasbourg and try a galette des rois

In any case, it is very common at this period to buy a cake, which are usually designed for 4, 6 or 8 servings, and invite friends and family on the 6th of January for Epiphany, or to share it later on – these cakes are found from  New Years Eve   up to Fat Tuesday, usually 8th of February.

The cake is cut into slices. If a kid is present, it is common that he hides under the table, and names the guest to get each slice, so they are given randomly.

Each guest gets a slice of the galette du roi, and everybody starts eating at the same time.

The one lucky enough to have the feve in his slice, and that doesn't choke on it, gets a paper king crown.

He is therefore being crowned king the day, and can choose a queen, or choose a king if it was a queen that got the feve in the king's cake, and they both get to avoid the chores for the day, and the lucky ones to be crowned will have the honor the next year to prepare or buy the next galette des rois!

Galette des rois Wikipedia
where to buy fever for galette des rois

Galette des rois type

There are several types of galette des rois, but the most common ones are with frangipane, a sweet filling made from almond paste, that is very light under the tooth and sweet.

Another very common type is with apple compote filling. This type of galette is usually far better coming from a bakery and being freshly prepared, than bought in a market.

Finally the pithivier, a cake from the seventeenth century, is very similar to the galette du roi, and can be confused with them, as the recipe is nearly the same.

Galette des rois recipe with frangipane


Preparation: 10 min.

Cooking time: 20 min.

Step 1:

Place a puff pastry in a pie plate, prick the dough with a fork.

2nd step:

In a bowl, mix almond powder, sugar, 2 eggs and soft butter.

Step 3:

Place the dough in the pie pan and hide the bean.

Step 4:

Cover with the second puff pastry, sticking the edges well.

Step 5:

Make drawings on the lid and brush with the egg yolk.

Step 6:

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 200 ° C (thermostat 6-7); check the cooking regularly!

Galette des rois recipe with frangipane

Galette des rois recipe with apple


Preparation time: 20 min.

Cooking time: 30 min.

Step 1:

Peel the apples and cut into 4; remove the pips, then grate them in thin slices in a bowl (cucumber grater).

2nd step:

In a bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon, pour over the apples and mix gently. Let stand 10 min.

Step 3:

Spread the first puff pastry and prick it. Pour in the apples and their juice, and spread out 3 cm from the edge.

Step 4:

Slide the bean into the apples.

Step 5:

Wet the edge with water, cover with the second dough, and solder the pasta together.

Step 6:

Preheat the oven to 180 ° C (thermostat 6).

Step 7:

Strain the dough with the tip of a knife and brown with a brush with the yolk diluted with 1 tablespoon of water.

Step 8:

Bake and cook at 180 ° C for 30 minutes.

Step 9:

This apple galette is eaten warm or cold.

Galette des rois recipe with apple and cinnamon

Pithivier recipe


Preparation: 10 min.

Cooking time: 30 min.

Step 1:

To give an incomparable flavor to the almond powder, make it blond over low heat. Put in a bowl and let cool. Add the sugar.

2nd step:

Work the butter in a terrine, with a spatula, until it is soft, then add the previous mixture. Add eggs, rum and bitter almond extract. Mix.

Step 3:

Spread the prepared frangipane on the first disc and cover it with the second disc. Garnish the top with egg yolk, then cross it with a knife.

Step 4:

Cook the cake in preheated oven Th 6 (180 ° C).

Step 5:

Enjoy your meal...

Author's note:

Weld the edges of the puff pastry well with the egg yolk to prevent them from peeling during cooking...

pithivier on Wikipedia
Pithivier recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cultural significance of the Galette des Rois in French tradition, and how is frangipane used in this celebrated pastry?
The Galette des Rois, traditionally eaten on Epiphany, has cultural significance in France as a symbol of the holiday. Frangipane, a creamy almond filling, is a key ingredient, making the pastry a beloved treat. The tradition of hiding a charm inside the cake and crowning the finder as 'king' or 'queen' adds to its cultural charm.

Michel Pinson
About the author - Michel Pinson
Michel Pinson is a Travel enthusiast and Content Creator. Merging passion for education and exploration, he iscommitted to sharing knowledge and inspiring others through captivating educational content. Bringing the world closer together by empowering individuals with global expertise and a sense of wanderlust.

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