This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.
Hi Bold Bakers!
Galette des Rois is the traditional cake enjoyed in France on Epiphany on January 6th, but since they’re so incredibly delicious and popular, pâtissiers start selling them in early December until the end of January!
My Homemade Galette des Rois, which translates to “King Cake,” is made with a flakey, buttery puff pastry filled with a generous layer of rich, sweet homemade frangipane. I also love to add a subtle hint of tart apricot jam to round out the frangipane’s sweetness.
But the cake isn’t only beloved in France just because of the taste, it holds deep tradition — and a fun party game!
If you’re looking for more holiday recipes from around the globe, check out my Bold Baking Holidays Worldwide section in my Holiday Baking Headquarters!
What Is Galette des Rois?
Galette des Rois, or King Cake, is a sweet almond-flavored custard-filled pastry that has been around for around 700 years!
Traditionally, the pastry is served on the 12th day of Christmas, January 6th, to celebrate the Ephiphany. Ephiphany is a Christian feast day celebrating the Three Kings arriving at the manger where Jesus was born. Now, it’s eaten throughout January (and sometimes December) to celebrate the holiday season and the new year.
Serving this cake is also special. Inside a galette des rois is a “feve” (a fava bean, but now it is more likely to be a whole almond or a plastic figurine). Whoever discovers the “feve” is the king (“le roi”) or the queen (“la reine”) for the day! This is why you see a golden crown on top of my galette des rois!
In some families, the person who gets the feve is in charge of bringing the galette des rois to the party next year, too.
What You Need To Make Galette des Rois
How To Make Galette des Rois
Find out who becomes king or queen for the day by following these simple steps (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below)!
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut either store-bought or homemade puff pastry sheets into two 9-inch (23cm) circles and place one of the circles onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Spread the apricot jam over the pastry circle. Be sure to leave a 1-inch (3cm) border around the edge.
- Spread the frangipane over the jam. If you are using a whole almond, dried bean, or feve to decide who is the king/queen, place it anywhere on the frangipane now.
- Moisten the edge of the pastry with egg wash and place the second circle of puff pastry on top. Press and crimp with your fingers to seal. Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- When you are ready to bake, brush the top of the pastry with egg wash and cut 5 or 6 slits into the pastry so it can vent.
- Bake on the center rack of your oven for about 40-45 minutes until the galette is puffed and a deep golden brown. Let the galette des rois cool for at least an hour before serving.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Galette des Rois
- I use an inverted 9-inch (23cm) round cake pan to measure and cut my pastry circles.
- I love using apricot jam to give this pastry a bright note, but feel free to use any flavor of jam that you prefer. You can even make your own Microwave Jam.
- When you are brushing the pastry with egg wash, take care to brush only the top and not the sides (edges) of the pastry, or it may not rise correctly.
- You can use the tip of a paring knife to etch a design on the top of the pastry. Be sure not to cut all the way through, except for where you want to put the vent slits.
- This pastry is best the day it is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can assemble it fully (through step 5) and then freeze it until the day you want to serve it (up to 2 months in advance). When ready to bake, defrost for 15 minutes (until the pastry is just soft enough to etch), brush with the egg wash, cut your vent slits and bake.
- Use my Homemade Puff Pastry and Homemade Frangipane!
How Do I Store Galette des Rois?
Galette des Rois is best served the day it is made (especially if you are trying to find the feve!), but you can store any leftover galette des rois at room temperature for up to 2 days. Recrisp it in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 10 minutes.
Make More Holiday Recipes!
And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!
Full (and printable) recipe below!