January is the month of la galette in France.  La galette des rois, or King’s Cake, a flaky buttery pastry filled with almond paste, is traditionally eaten at Epiphany on 6th January, but in reality it’s eaten throughout the month at social gatherings, schools, offices, New Year ceremonies and so on. As today is Epiphany I thought I’d share with you just how easy it is to make your own galette des rois.  For details on the traditions that surround the eating of the cake take a look at this post I wrote a while back.

galette des rois with crown

Making your own Galette des rois is very simple, assuming you can get hold of ready-made puff pastry.  In France we’re spoilt with excellent quality puff pastry that comes ready rolled with its own baking paper, available in every supermarket.    And even better than that, during the festive period, roughly December and January, kits of puff pastry with a crown and figurine are sold too!

To make a traditional Galette des rois frangipane (almond paste King’s Cake) here’s what you need:

ingredients for galette des rois

460g puff pastry – either 2 rolls of ready-made pastry or home-made divided into 2 and rolled into thin rounds of approx 30-35cms diametre

100g ground almonds

75g sugar

1 egg (+1 egg yolk, beaten)

50g softened butter

A few drops of almond essence

1 fève (small ceramic figurine or a dried broad bean if ceramic figurine not available) + 1 paper crown

homemade galette des rois Kings Cake France

And here’s what you do:

Roll out the bottom pastry onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Prick it with a fork several times.

making galette des rois

Mix all other ingredients except the extra egg yolk in a mixing bowl, beat till thoroughly mixed and creamy.  The paste should be quite thick.

mix for galette des rois

Spread the paste over the pastry, leaving an edge of a couple of centimetres.

frangipane paste on galette

Paint some beaten egg yolk around the edges as “glue” to help stick the top layer of pastry.

making galette

Place the fève (figurine) somewhere not too near the centre.

Place the 2nd round of pastry over the top and pinch around the edges to stick it firmly closed.

top on galette

Prick a few holes and cut a pattern on the top with a knife (if you wish!)

pattern on galette des rois

Paint with the beaten egg yolk to make the pastry beautifully golden.

galette des rois egg wash

Bake at 200°c (fan assisted oven) for approx 25 mins (or until golden, keep an eye on it, all ovens are different).

galette des rois in oven

Can be served warm or cold.

galette des rois from the oven

And this is what you do next!

serving the galette des rois

Cut the cake into as many pieces as there are people being served, send the youngest child under the table to shout out names of who gets which slice, serve the slices, get the kid back and scoff your part, checking carefully not to break a tooth or choke on the fève (!!)

Lick your buttery fingers and crown the King or Queen – the lucky person who gets the fève.  You can read the explanation of this unusual behaviour here.


Bonne dégustation!

For more international seasonal recipes check out this great post: Easy Christmas Recipes For Kids From Around The World

Related Reading:

French yogurt cake: the easiest cake in the world

What is goûter? It’s tea-time, kids!

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traditional galette des rois easy recipe


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