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imageYou may be back at work but don’t start the detox just yet, because Christmas doesn’t finish until the Twelfth Night is done. No, not the Shakespeare play of the same name, but the festivities marking Epiphany, the arrival of the three kings to baby Jesus.

These days, not many people know much about Twelfth Night, but in the medieval and Tudor periods, it was more important than Christmas Day. Epiphany is fixed in the christian calendar on January 6 each year, exactly 12 days after the birth of Jesus.  And there are plenty of Epiphany rituals – especially regarding food. But as most people no longer have the day off work, it is celebrated on the first Sunday in January and theoretically that is the day, the galette may be cut.  Here in France, L’Epiphanie as it is called, is celebrated with cake. La Galette des Rois or King’s Cake is eaten for several weeks starting right after Christmas. There are variations on the kind of cake, depending where in France you live. In Dordogne and most of France, it is called a Galette des Rois and is puff pastry filled with almond paste or frangipane and in the north, Provence and Languedoc it is a Gateau des Rois, a rich brioche made with candied fruits and nuts. Either way, a “fève” or charm is hidden in the cake. According to tradition, the cake must be divided so that each guest gets a slice plus an extra one called the part du Bon Dieu/Pauvre (Good Lord/Poor) which is reserved for any unexpected stranger. When there are children, the youngest, must go under the table and directs the person serving to whom each slice must be given. The lucky one who gets the fève/charm becomes king or queen for the day and is given a golden crown in paper to wear.

Galette des Rois à la frangipane

Pour 6 personnes


2 oeufs
90 g de beurre mou
2 rouleaux de pâte feuilletée
120 g de poudre d’amande
90 g de sucre en poudre
1 gousse de vanille
1 à 2 c. à soupe de rhum
Une fève

Préchauffez le four à 180C
Fouettez le sucre avec le beurre mou
Fendez en deux la gousse de vanille, prélevez les graines et ajoutez-les au melange sucre et beurre
Incorporez 1 oeuf et le rhum
Ajoutez la poudre d’amande
Déroulez une pâte feuilletée sur la plaque du four recouverte de papier cuisson
Étalez la crème en laissant quelques centimètres de bords
Cachez une fève dans la crème
Dans un bol battez l’oeuf restant en omelette
Badigeonnez-en le bord libre de la pâte
Recouvrez du deuxième disque de pâte en appuyant sur le bord
Badigeonnez-le d’oeuf battu pour réaliser la dorure
Décorer la surface de la galette avec la lame d’un couteau
Enfournez pour 30 minutes
Bon Appétit!

Galette des Rois with frangipane

Serves 6


2 eggs
90 g / 6 tablespoons butter, cubed at room temperature
2 rolls of store bought puff pastry
120 g / 1 cup almond flour
90 g / 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
1 to 2 tablespoons rum
1 charm to hide inside the cake


Preheat your oven to 180 C / 360 F
Cream the softened butter and the sugar
Add the vanilla extract or the grains of one vanilla bean
Whisk in one egg and the rum
Add the almond flour
Mix well and chill
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Roll out a piece of puff pastry into a circle about 23 cm / 9 1/2 inches
Using a plate or the bottom of a pie dish as a template, trim the dough into a neat circle
Do the same with the other piece of puff pastry dough, set aside
Spread the almond filling onto one piece of dough, leaving a 3cm / 1 in border
Hide your charm / féve in the filling
Brush water around the exposed perimeter of the dough then place the second circle of dough on top of the galette and press down to seal the edges very well – you can even fold them over in a pattern
Use a knife to make a diamond shape design on the top
(You might wish to place the galette in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill slightly, you can even leave it overnight)
Beat the remaining egg and brush the top of the galette evenly
Make a tiny hole with a knife on top to allow the steam to escape
Bake for 30 minutes
Serve warm or at room temperature

Note: I baked my galette in a 9 1/2 inch /23 cm removable base tart pan
I buttered and floured the dish then inserted the first puff pastry base before adding the filling. I left a small border, lay the second piece of pastry on top and tucked it into the dish then rolled up the two edges together to create a sort of a twisted circle around the bottom.