Celebrate Epiphany on January 6th with a quintessential French cake—the famed frangipane-filled Galette des Rois.
“On January 6th Baby Jesus hides inside galettes,” my mother told me on our first ex-pat Epiphany in Paris. I glanced over at our galette des rois and wondered how Jesus was faring after being baked. Not well I assumed. I wish I could say my genuine concern drove me to do what I did, but my goal was never to save the half-inch porcelain figurine. All I wanted was the galette’s golden foldable crown carrying promise of royal treatment for a day.
The almond cream galette and its paper crown had traveled from a boulangerie across town. Which was fitting considering the Epiphany is all about a journey—the trek of the three wise men to worship Jesus in Bethlehem. Our galette’s great expedition would end in our stomachs and the crown atop whoever’s lucky head got the slice with Baby Jesus nestled inside.
I wanted that King to be me.
Once I was alone, I started poking and prodding in hopes of securing Jesus’s exact location. The delicate layers cracked, then crumbled, and then fell to the sides of the plate. But from underneath the mess came a beacon of hope—Jesus’s top half. At that moment my poor mother reentered the room to see her celebratory dessert ruined and her child’s hands covered in almond frangipane and flakey pastry.
There was a moment of stillness and then, by the grace of God, she laughed. I was stunned. Whether it was the galette’s lovely aroma, my deer in the headlights look, or the sheer ridiculousness of it all, I will never know, but right then, together we sliced and served our very first galette des rois.
Bring the beloved Epiphany tradition to your home with the easy homemade galette des rois recipe below, courtesy of blogger Erica Sommermann of Apricosa.
Bring the sweet aromas of a French boulangerie to your kitchen with this easy Epiphany classic made with frozen puff pastry and an almond marzipan filling.