Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Galette des rois, the king of cakes

Galette des rois

I always look forward to January! We finally reach the season for the king of cakes, la galette des rois! This cake can be found in at least two basic versions, but my preferred one is with almond filling. You serve it slightly warm and watch out for the little fève, a porcelain figurine, hidden in it. The one who finds it, is rewarded with a golden paper crown and elected king or queen for the day! My children love this tradition! 
The king
Here you see Björn with his royal crown. I just told him he wouldn't get any seconds... otherwise he would have looked happier.

Details of galette des rois

What this is all about is the kings feast, fête des rois, or épiphanie. It occurs the 6th of January every year and celebrates the day the child Jesus was presented for three kings. Usually you find them from the 1st of January or even before Christmas - but that is off bounds, really!

This old tradition was seen already with the romans. In the beginning they put beans, fèves, in the cake, but 1870 the beans were replaced with porcelain figurines. The figurines can represent anything, from Disney  to cars or famous art. Our cake had a card with markers and poker written on it. Many bakeries sell them on the side, for those who make collections out of them.

There are two kinds of galette. One is like a brioche, med a hole in the middle, decorated with pearlsugar and filled with candied fruit. The other is made with several layers of puff dough with an almond filling, frangipane. The name of the filing comes from the italian who invented it, Frangipan. The cake on the picture is the second version and my personal favourite. I love that almond taste and those crispy layers.... so of course you believe me when I say I buy them to please the kids!

brioche style galette des rois
The other galette, more brioche. Looks prettier but I prefer the other!

The queen

Update: Clara got a crown when they had galette at school, so she wanted a photo in the blog too!

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