An ancient tradition – The galette of "The Kings"
Une ancienne tradition – La galette des Rois
Yes, it’s this time of the year again. Every January 6, in France we celebrate La Galette des Rois (rois = kings), for the pleasure of kids and adults too. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Galette des Rois. It’s this sweet thing that even non-sweet tooth do enjoy to eat too.
Galette des Rois is an ancient tradition that refers to Epiphany which is a catholic tradition that goes back to the IV century. Every catholic church celebrates Epiphany on Jan 6. Before Christianity, this celebration was for the apparition of the Greek God Dyonisos who was attached to seasons, he died during the decline of vegetation and would resuscitate with the light. Basically, I think it’s called Twelfth Night in English referring to 12 days after Christmas.
Epiphany derives from Greek that means “event” and refers to the birth of Jesus. Epiphany refers to to acceptance by the Magi (The Three Wise Men) of Jesus being the Messiah.
Galette des Rois was starting to be popular already in the XIV century. Its round shape referred to the cult of the sun of the Saturnales, a pagan celebration. Galette des Rois is split into equal parts, you have as many parts as there are guests, with an extra slice for anyone who would drop by. Inside the galette, a “fève” (I think it’s called charm in English) is hidden, and the one who gets it, is the King and gets to wear the crown. This ritual goes back to Roman times when during a feast, one king was randomly picked by hiding a black or white coin in the food. The one finding it, would become king.
If you look at the picture, you can see a “fève” in the middle of the filling, the one who finds this in his slice, gets celebrated king. All bakeries in France sell Galettes des Rois with a paper golden crown during this time of the year, so that the celebrated King can wear it. Then the king gets to pick his queen. Nowadays, its religious meaning has been a little lost, and everyone enjoys a good Galette despite its religion. Since Galette des Rois is only sold during this time of the year, if you are a Galette lover, you can make it any time.
A galette is made of two puff pastry sheets, with a mixture in between those sheets of almond paste, eggs, sugar and butter and other minor ingredients such as rum or almond extract.
Ingredients for a Galette of 6-8 people
- 2 puff pastry sheets
- 3.52 oz (or 100 g) soft butter
- 5.20 oz (or 150 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 7 oz (or 200 g) almond powder
- almond extract
- 1 tbs rum
- 1 tbs crème fraîche
- 1 egg yolk
In a mixing container, mix almond powder with butter, sugar, eggs, almond extract, rum and crème fraîche to obtain a smooth consistency. In a round non stick tart tray, place pastry sheets, then pour mixture on sheet, place second sheet on top and seal sides. With a fork, make holes on top crust and form stripes vertically and horizontally with a ravioli cutter to create a square pattern.
With a brush, spread yolk on top of crust to make it golden. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 370F until the Galette is cooked and golden brown for about 30 minutes.
This entry was posted by silvia on January 6, 2010 at 4:35 am, and is filed under Desserts. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.
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now this is elegant and decadent all in one…very beautiful in color. So thats a white coin inside? Wow amazing artwork here…and history…love this!
Oh yum. Who wouldn’t like that galette?? Great recipe with great history.
This is awesome! Looks amazing and I would love to try to make this!
Oh dear, this looks awesome delicious! You’re so lucky to be at home right now.
The filling looks so moist and almondy — perfect really. I never knew these cakes were made with puff pastry, and I loved reading all the history. Great post!
I like all your recipes.
our friend from France was at the Basque Boulangerie this morning picking up her King Cake
I remember making one of these while a culinary student in Paris. Yours looks just perfect, thank you for sharing your recipe.
What a beautiful galette!
How beautiful this is – I am only familiar with the New Orleans King Cake. Obviously it was very much influenced by le galette de roi. So interesting to see this!
Great post. I have learnt another thing today.
I had these when I was a teen in France – it was so much fun trying to guess who would be “King!” Happy to know the history too!
i love learning how pagan rituals were absorbed into the Catholic/Christian religion millennium ago. i didn’t know about this celebration, but it sounds like so much fun. i’ll celebrate almost anything with sweets. the galette looks beautiful and so delicately creamy. this post is one of my favorites of yours!
Beautiful. The filling looks so delicious, I just want to dive right in. Thanks for the history lesson. I went to Catholic school for 13 years but it was nice to hear how it is celebrated in France – and a little memory jog of the holiday is nice too
Beautiful — dishes that are not only delicious, but have a rich history, are truly the best kinds. This must evoke many wonderful memories when you make this.
Wow, this is a gorgeous gorgeous galette! And I love the history background of it. I must try it very soon!
Last Epiphany we made the Italian Befana Cake, last night it was Grapefruit Gratin avec Sabayon (the citrus also is traditional). I love all things Epiphany and am bookmarking this for 2011. Thanks for posting.
It’s so beautiful! Marzipan may be one of the world’s perfect foods! Great history, I love the traditions in Europe.
Thanks for your comments on The Great Ocean Road. Isn’t it stunning there? There was barely anyone there. Most of Australia is like that! It’s kind of hard to get used to. Definitely a place of solitude.
Thank you for sharing. Cheers!
lovely, our French neighbor has this every year. A great tradition.
I am French and this is my favorite cake, and I tried to make it for the first time, and this recipe is PERFECT. We made our own almond flour (just put almonds in the blender), and hid an almond inside it for the tradition. Thanks and great job! We will make it again for sure!