400g ready-made puff pastry
2 tbsp apricot jam
100g softened butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
100g almond meal
2 tbsp cognac
1 tsp vanilla essence
Traditionally celebrated to mark the Christian Feast of Epiphany, La Fetes Des Rois takes the frangipane stuffed Galette des Rois ritual to another level. As a tribute to the Three Kings, the holiday celebrates the discovery or epiphany of the baby Jesus being the son of God. To mark the occasion, inside the galette a small porcelain fève or charm is hidden, only to be revealed by the lucky eater who discovers it.
Due to many revolutions against Church and monarchy, the tradition in France was somewhat secularised quite some time ago, and involves a change of symbolism, which I find quite interesting. Upon finding a hidden charm in your slice of galette, you become the King of the feast and get to wear a golden crown. Other benefits include choosing a Queen, or in more modern incarnations, a feve for the Queen is also included, with a crown to boot. The pay-it-forward aspect is one which makes the month of January a little intense for the old liver in that it is customary for Kings and Queens to reciprocate, offering a Galette Des Rois at their own Fetes Des Rois in thanks for their good fortune.
Galette Des Rois or King’s Cake
So if you haven’t been turned off by the sheer volume of the stuff you may possibly consume if you follow this tradition, here is the method to the galette madness:
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, then cut two 25cm round pieces from the sheet.
- Place one round of pastry on a baking sheet, on a baking tray. Spread with the apricot jam to within 2cm of the edges.
- Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Stir in the almond meal and cognac.
- Spoon the mixture over the jam, spreading it evenly. This is the point when you hide the feve or charm, which the King/Queen will discover. You must warn your guests! Any porcelain or ceramic, oven-proof, non-choke causing (i.e. big enough) feve will do. I prefer using non-religious charms that are fun for the little ones.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with water, then cover with the second piece of pastry, pressing the edges to seal. Mark the top of the pastry with pretty line patterns, or even just a simple crosshatch.
- You may like to brush a little milk on top to help glaze and brown the pastry.
- Bake for 25-30 mins until crisp and golden. Serve warm or cold.