Many people of French descent eat Galette des Rois (King Cake) every year on January 6.
This date is known as the Epiphany on the Christian calendar and celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem to see Jesus Christ, the newborn king.
Galette des Rois is a cake made of puff pastry with a lucky charm or bean inside and filled rich, creamy paste made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs.
In Quebec, there’s a cute custom attached to eating galette des roi on January 6.
The galette is cut into as many pieces are there are people at the table (six people = six slices etc.). Then, the youngest person gets under the table and calls out people’s names at random. As their names are called, people are given a slice of the galette.
Whoever ends up with the lucky charm in their cake is king for the day, and will have good luck the whole year ahead.
Galette des Roi
Preheat oven to 375
- 1 box puff pastry (two sheets of dough)
- 13/4 cups almond meal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- zest from 1/2 an orange (remove wax and pesticides from citrus by scrubbing with water and vinegar before zesting)
- 2 eggs
- 1 whole almond or fève (bean)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon milk
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment.
Roll out one piece of puff pastry and cut into a 10 circle using a pot lid or plate as a template. Place dough on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Roll out the second piece of dough to the same size, place on top of the first circle, then chill both together for thirty minutes.
To make the almond filling, mix together the almond meal, the two sugars, the salt and the orange zest. Add butter and beat until smooth. Stir in the eggs yolks, one at a time, then the almond extract and rose water.
Remove the almond filling from the refrigerator. Remove one of the circles of dough, set aside. Spread the almond filling on the circle of dough still on the baking sheet, stopping 1-inch from the edge.
Place an almond or fève (bean) somewhere in the almond filling.
Brush water generously around the exposed perimeter of the dough, then place the other circle of dough on top. Press down firmly to seal the edges.
Flute the sides of the galette by planting two fingers a ½ inch apart on the edge of the galette, then pulling the dough in between the fingers with the tip of an upside down paring knife to create a scalloped edge. Continue all the way around the galette.
To decorate the top of the galette, cut 5-6 lines in the top of the cake, from top to bottom. Between these lines, cut a series of diagonal lines, half up, half down (like veins on a leaf), ½ apart, from top to bottom.
Stir together the egg yolk and milk and brush evenly over the top. Avoid getting the glaze on the sides, as it will stop the pastry from rising at the edges.
Use a paring knife to poke 5 holes in the top, to allow steam escape while baking. If the galette puffs up too much while baking, poke a few more holes in it to release the steam.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from heat, and cool on a rack. The galette will deflate as it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature.