Traditional French Galette des Rois

French king cake

Laurent Mani / Getty Images

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins

For an extra-special holiday treat, bake this delicious galette des rois, a traditional French cake usually served on Epiphany, January 6. Friends and family will love the irresistibly creamy almond filling sandwiched between two flaky, buttery layers of puff pastry.

Much like the American king cake or the Spanish roscón de reyes bread, this dessert often includes a small prize (called a fève) hidden inside the filling. Bakeries opt for porcelain or plastic figures, but a home baker can use a dried fava bean instead. The lucky guest who finds the fève becomes the "king" or "queen" of the evening and wears a paper crown. Of course, make sure to warn everyone about the fève—if you don't, some guests may leave the party with broken teeth. If you're making this cake for children, consider leaving out the fève.

Once you master this foolproof recipe, you can experiment with different fillings or make your own puff pastry.

Ingredients

  • For Almond Cream Filling:
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • For Cake:
  • 17 ounces puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 batch almond cream (homemade)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Optional: 1 dried fava bean
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • Tea or cafe au lait for serving (optional)

Steps to Make It

How to Make the Almond Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend to a smooth, creamy paste. Feel free to make this cream a few days in advance, then refrigerate it in an airtight container.

How to Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

  3. Roll out the sheets of puff pastry and cut out two 11-inch circles. Place the first disc on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then cover it in an even layer of almond cream, leaving a 1-inch border around the circle.

  4. If you wish to include a fève, you can do so at this point: Simply nestle it in the almond cream. Place the second puff pastry disc atop the first, then crimp the edges with a fork to seal the cake. Using a sharp knife, score a decorative pattern into the top layer of pastry, without cutting through to the almond filling.

  5. Brush the galette with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes at 425 F. Dust the cake with the powdered sugar and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the puff pastry becomes a deep golden brown. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes.

  6. Serve slices with tea or cafe au lait to balance the galette's sweetness. If you have included a fève, make sure to warn your guests and, of course, crown the king or queen with a paper diadem.

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