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Recipe for the French galette des rois served at Epiphany in France, with a pistachio and chocolate twist to the classic frangipane. Extract and adapted basic recipe from my second book, Teatime in Paris! Don’t forget to hide the trinket inside and have a crown or two ready for the winning King and Queen.

slice of galette des rois filled with pistachio and chocolate

What is Special about A Galette des Rois?

What I love about living in Paris is that the party continues after the festive season, food-wise. Just when the decorations officially come down, there’s something special to look forward to. Officially as of Epiphany on 6th January, suddenly the Pâtisserie windows are filled with Galettes des rois – which in English, is simply King Cake. Although these days we see them around Christmas and up until the end of January when we are rather saturated with them.

I love trying the top ones for inspiration around Paris – see most of the best  galettes des Rois in Paris.

However, I also love to make my own.  Not only is it cheaper but it means we can generously fill it. Personally, I’m not keen on galettes that are mainly pastry with very little frangipane; I love them well garnished!

What’s more, it means we get to pick our own trinkets (French ‘fèves‘). This is just Lucie’s own collection of trinkets which represents rather a lot of successful galettes where she was Queen for a day!

Being a lazy gourmet, I use store-bought puff pastry (always choose pur beurre, the full butter version, which is better quality than plain puff.) Even better, ask/reserve good quality puff pastry from your local baker; in France we can ask politely for some, as normally you’re supposed to be buying the galettes!

collection of French trinkets that are found in the galette des rois

Lucie’s collection of trinkets she won in years’ worth of galettes des rois – was it rigged, I wonder?

Galette des Rois Tradition

The Galette des Rois (or King’s Cake in English) is traditionally served at Epiphany and is said to have taken its name from the three wise men.

It’s not a cake as such but more of a giant puff pastry sandwich filled with frangipane (almond cream added to pastry cream) with a trinket hidden inside to crown a King or Queen, whoever gets it in their slice.

In this recipe, the classic frangipane is replaced by an almond and pistachio cream topped with some dark chocolate.

galette des rois French cake in front of a creche for epiphany

What Does Galette des Rois Taste Like?

The traditional French Galette des Rois normally tastes of almond, as it’s usually made just with almonds for a frangipane filling. This pistachio version is just has an extra pistachio flavour to it with added chocolate. Together with the puff pastry as a crispy exterior, it’s quite filling but ever so satisfying.

Normally we serve this at goûter time (teatime) or dessert with French cidre from Normandy or Brittany (either Brut/dry or Doux/sweet) and with sparkling apple juice for the children.

Galette Flavours

Experiment with more flavours. This one is almond, pistachio and chocolate. However, based on the same recipe, make it with cherries instead of chocolate, hazelnuts and chocolate, pear etc.

All our family variations are in my book, Teatime in Paris.

What is the Ritual When Eating La Galette des Rois?

La Galette des Rois is usually enjoyed as one big King Cake and contains a fève or trinket. So that there is no cheating as to who gets the trinket when cutting the galette, there is a particular ritual.

Tradition in France is that the youngest person in the room sits under the table. They shout out, one by one, each person’s name in the room as the galette is cut by an ‘older and wiser’ person above. The person who gets the slice with the trinket nestling inside their part wears the crown and is then King (or Queen) for the day.

Sometimes in the chic pâtisseries, you’re given two crowns. That way a King can choose a Queen to accompany him/her and vice versa.

two golden puff pastry galettes with crowns

Galette des Rois Recipe with Almond Pistachio Paste and Chocolate

  • First prepare the almond paste (with the pistachio – or simply extra almonds for a traditional frangipane almond cream);
  • Mix all the ingredients together and spread it evenly on to the first circle of puff pastry;

4 steps making pistachio almond cream and spreading on a circle of puff pastry

  • Spread the mixture evenly, leaving about a couple of centimetres at the border;
  • Insert the trinket (known as the fève) in the paste, towards the outside near the border. If a big galette and a few people, then I like to add a second trinket;
  • Place the chocolate chips on top of the cream;

pressing down the second circle of puff pastry over the first covered in almond and pistachio cream

  • Top with the second circle of puff pastry. Press in from the border to seal off any air bubbles around the filling. See in much more detail in the printable recipe card below.
  • Once the border is well sealed, make indents with the blunt edge of the knife.

sealing the puff pastry border with indents and glaze with egg yolk

  • Brush with egg yolk and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Ideas to Decorate a Galette des Rois

Decorate the galette with the back of a knife when the puff pastry is glazed and chilled first.

decorating glazed puff pastry with the back of a knife

Either make a sun-ray effect (this is popular in pâtisseries), simple criss-crosses or be more original with your own creativity. This one below was done by my daughter, Lucie.

decorating a king cake with a knife

Decorating a galette des rois is up to your creativity (use the blunt end of knife).

shiny browned decorated galette des rois with a gold paper crown on top

slice of puff pastry cake filled with pistachio and almond with a little trinket hidden inside

spot the trinket?

slice of galette des rois filled with pistachio and chocolate

Galette des Rois

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Chilling Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : French
Keyword : galette des rois, king cake
Servings : 10 people

Description

Recipe for the classic French galette des rois served around Epiphany in France, with a chocolate and pistachio twist. Extract and recipe adapted from my second book, Teatime in Paris! Don't forget to hide the trinket inside and have a crown or two ready for the winning King and Queen.

Ingredients

Almond cream filling:

  • 140 g (5oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 100 g (3½oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 50 g (2oz) ground pistachios (or more almonds for the classic)
  • 115 g (4oz) caster sugar (superfine)
  • 2 eggs organic
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 tbsp Kirsch liqueur or rum
  • 30 g (1oz) dark chocolate chips
  • 600 g (or 2 packs of 230g circles) ready-made puff pastry (pure butter) cut into 2 circles

glaze:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water

Traditional extras

  • 1 trinket
  • 1-2 paper crowns (or find a real one!)

Instructions

Almond & Pistachio Cream

  • Cream the softened butter in a large bowl then gradually add all the other ingredients and mix together well to form a smooth cream.
  • Place the first pastry circle on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Spread the almond and pistachio mix evenly on top, leaving a space of 2-3 cm (1 1/4") as a border.
  • Insert the porcelaine trinket well into the almond cream towards the edge of the galette (to avoid the slicer slicing into it) and top evenly with the chocolate chips.
  • Place the second puff pastry circle on top and seal the outside edges, ensuring there are no air bubbles. You'll be left with the top circle slightly smaller than the bottom so, using a sharp knife, cut off the surplus pastry, sealing thoroughly all the way around the galette.
  • Now go around the galette's border and, using the blunt side of a knife and keeping it straight, make tiny indentations to perfectly seal the pastry's edges.
    Brush the top of the pastry with the egg yolk and water glaze. 
  • For best results, chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (optional but helps the decor about to be done stay intact).
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/gas 4.
  • Again, using the blunt side of the knife, carefully score a sun-ray or criss-cross pattern by cutting gently into the pastry, but not too much that you cut right through the pastry. Pierce 4 or 5 little holes in the pastry, so that air can escape.
    Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Notes

Serve warm with cider.  
Variations:
  • To make the classic galette des rois, just omit the chocolate and replace the pistachios with more ground almonds/almond flour.
  • Replace the pistachios with ground hazelnuts;
  • Add sliced fresh or tinned pear, or with a few boozy cherries as I show in my recipe book, 'Teatime in Paris'.

 

You can find my recipe (including detailed step-by-step instructions) for Pistachio and Griotte Cherry Galette des Rois and many more galette des rois variations in my 2nd recipe book, Teatime in Paris: A Walk Through Easy French Pâtisserie Recipesas well as many more French recipes.

This post was first published 8 January 2013 but is now completely updated.

From the market

From the kitchen

36 responses to “Galette des Rois (French King Cake)”

  1. I love the trinkets! I baked so many things this holiday season to keep up with parties and entertaining and photographed none of it. So you are way ahead of me. A belated Happy New Year!

    • I don’t know how you do it, Lora! At least you’ll have a cleaner camera. Mine is covered in food – time to change in 2013. Er, cleaner camera fingers or the camera, lol. Happy 2013 to you, too!

  2. Those trinkets are so cute! I loved this unique galette recipe. Truly, your blog looks stunning and the pictures look droolworthy all the time. I am in no way going to quit desserts after seeing such a delectable spread!

  3. Happy new year Ma’m! I see some profiteroles…a favorite of mine!

  4. Dunno where my comment went … what I was saying was “A meringue or am I right?” It took me a minute before the giggle kicked in. You are a hoot! Love your photo journal of distractions over Christmas and this is a gorgeous Galette des Rois – great frangipane filling. Will definitely include amaretto – yuuuuum!

    p.s. Thanks for the g+ – just getting the hang of this technology.

  5. Jill,
    Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday, “unplugged”, and baking like crazy.

    I didn’t know how the French celebrated Mardi Gras. I love the galette, with the almond cream filling. I have to try this one. I have made the yeast version of the King Cake before.

    • Interesting, Becky. Yes, I see that mardi gras (n New Orleans, e.g.) they have the King Cake too but not the same as this French one for Epiphany stuffed with frangipane or almond cream.

  6. Must remember not to stop by BEFORE breakfast, especially being in Paris which is comparable to being in the middle of a sugar landmine field…
    Faites Attention!
    Love your local feves by the way

    • Posh fèves, eh, Carol? Aha – I remember that feeling well first in Paris when the pastry shops were all just, well, beckoning… courage!

  7. Now that I know how easy it is to make a galette des rois, I’m never buying one again. The boulangeries of Paris are cursing you, Jill… 😉

    • Hehe. Thanks, Ann – I know I should make my own puff pastry too but I’m too much a lazy gourmet for that part. Made another one and just about to devour it. It makes this one look silly since I found out why my pastry was puffing up too much in the middle…

  8. Happy New Year Jill! (if not too late to say…) Whoa! You have been baking so much! It’s great that you were serious about testing out recipes… hopefully we’ll see these recipes this year? I was offline for a week, but I caught a cold. When I do something that I’m not used to do, something like this happens! j/k Looking forward to your posts this year! xoxo

    • Nami, in France people say this until end January and even still send cards! Never too late – thanks for popping by and look after that cold.

  9. ONE DAY. ONE DAY I will make my own Galette des Rois. It always coincides with back to school and generally coming back from a trip (this year, Burma and lots of jetlag to go with that) so I never get around to it and have to live vicriously though others. Happy New year Jill and Bonne Santé XOX

    • Oh, you jet-setters who don’t make galettes, honestly 😉
      Happy, healthy 2013 to you too, Mardi. xo

  10. Happy New Year from your BFF on the other side of the world!! You have certainly been baking busy, haven’t you?? I sort of did the same thing myself and spent days in the kitchen, but didn’t take a photo. Well, Instagram, but nothing real. I’m eager to see about your brioche! One of my all time favorites, but one that I don’t make too often due to a few extra calories that seem to hang on around my middle a little more often lately.
    Love the pics of the girls! Happy 2013!! L

    • Awe – thanks for that, Kim. Happy 2013 to you too, my sunny, bubbly Californian friend. Oh, Instagram. I have that downloaded but I don’t use it – hate the out of focus photos but I hear it’s fun. Yet another distraction, eh? Brioche calories? Och no!

  11. Right. That does it. Can we go shopping together next time I’m in Paris? I need these feves for an excuse to make my own galette, Jill!

    • Too funny, Jean-Pierre. Let me know when you’re next around and I’ll point you in the dainty porcelain directions.

  12. I love all the photos Jill. Great idea the French have making galettes just after the festive season when everything is usually doom and gloom. I love the Venetian ornaments – what a surprise it would be to find one in a galette!

    • It is great fun indeed, thanks Thomasina. We’re making it last a lot longer than just Epiphany here!

  13. Mum,
    could you remake those scrumptious crêpes, meringues that succulent roasted duck and fish à la viennoise please! I ADORED it!
    Lucie 😉

    • Thanks for that, darling. Of course I’ll make them again with sweet words like that – who could resist?

  14. Oh, how nice to unplug from the computer…I need to try that…and soon!!! I’m sure you and your family had a delicious holiday!I need to put your stunning Galette des Roi on my bucket list…yours is picture perfect, Jill!!! Happy New Year!

    • I don’t know how you do it, Liz, but I would thoroughly recommend a wee break from ze screen. Bucket list? Love it.

  15. Thank you Jill for your visit over to my blog. Your comments were really appreciated, and happily it has lead me to discover your blog which is amazing! For a confirmed francophile like me, your page is such a find! I love Paris, I love France and I love macarons! I will be back to try some of your recipes. Best wishes.

    • Lovely to discover you too today, Stella, and to hear we have so many Frenchie loves in common!

  16. well you’re ahead of me still Jill , Happy New Year ! I do like the sound of this with rum and you say serve with cider. That is real cider n’est pas ?

  17. Hi Jamie! Great to hear from you and thanks for your lovely wishes. Yep, galettes, galettes – I can eat them every day until I’m so sick of them I won’t miss them until January 2014 😉 Stay tuned, the recipes will come out on le blog and many more are in the next book…

  18. Happy New Year, Jill! I have been going crazy making my galette… I love making them and eating them. I will have to try your filling since I’ve not yet made frangipane this year. But all of your desserts in your photos! Stunning! When will we discover them on your blog with the recipes???

    Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!

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