If you’re a fan of Mardi Gras, we bet you’re familiar with King Cake. We wait every year to snag one from our favorite bakeries, and we love seeing who finds the hidden baby and gets crowned king for a day. What if we told you there was another Carnival season pastry you’re going to love? It’s a little less flashy, but maybe even more delicious. Let us introduce you to the Galette de Rois!
Wait, what? Are they not the same thing? We know— galette de rois pretty much translates to king cake, so we get the confusion. To make matters worse, they do have quite a few similarities, with a few twists. They’re both eaten in celebration of Epiphany, the season commemorating the coming of the three wise men (the “kings”) to visit baby Jesus, but while you can find king cakes all Carnival season long, galettes de rois are usually only served in January. Both pastries uphold the tradition of hiding a charm or bean inside, but while king cakes traditionally use babies, galettes des rois use porcelain figurines called “fèves” that can be shaped like anything under the sun. For both, whoever gets the piece with the figurine inside earns the title of king or queen for the day. Galettes des rois take it even one step further, and are decorated with a paper or foil crown that day-of royalty gets to wear.
Here's where they really differ. While king cake is made of a yeasted dough rolled with a cinnamon sugar filling, galette de rois is made of puff pastry sheets filled with almond frangipane and jam. Prior to baking, the puff pastry is scored and egg washed, giving the final pastry a beautiful golden hue. The best part? It’s actually super easy to make! We save time by using store-bought, frozen puff pastry and our favorite jam. The trickiest part is assembly, but don’t worry, we’ve got tips:
When working with puff pastry dough, it’s extremely important to keep it as COLD as possible. Keep it chilled up to the last minute, and only pull one sheet to work with at a time. If it gets too warm to work with, pop the whole thing in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes and then try again.
The recipe below is for one 9” galette de rois, but you could also make two 5” ones following the same procedure— just cut out your puff pastry using a smaller template. If you have any extra puff pastry scraps, use them to make easy cheese straws or spinach and artichoke puffs.
When assembling, make sure to seal the edges of the two sheets of puff pastry together well to avoid leakage. Freezing the assembled pastry before baking will also help with this, so don’t skip that step!
The components of this (particularly the frangipane) can be made ahead of time. Frangipane will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. The baked galette de rois will be best day of, but will keep well covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, as well.
Made this recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
sheets from 1 (17.3-oz) package puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
cup apricot or raspberry jam
whole almond, "feve", or bean (optional)
(1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Add butter and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl), and cream together until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer). Add flour, almond flour, and salt, and mix again, scraping the side and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Add extracts and rum and mix until fully incorporated. Set aside.
- On your countertop, lightly flour a parchment sheet, and place 1 of the puff pastry sheets on top (keep the other in the fridge for now). Using a cardboard cake round or plate, use a sharp knife or pizza wheel trace to trace a circle in the puff pastry sheet. (Save scraps for another use.) Transfer the parchment and puff pastry round onto a baking sheet pan, taking care not to distort the shape as much as possible.
- Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth the jam around the puff pastry circle, leaving a 1” border at the edges.
- Fill a pastry bag or ziploc with the frangipane, and pipe a spiral on top of the jam, continuing to leave the 1" border around the edge. Tuck your "feve" into the frangipane now, if using.
- Remove the second sheet of puff pastry from the fridge, place it on a floured surface, and cut another circle the same size. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the circle to an even ½” thickness.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg, water, and salt until completely combined. Brush the egg wash around the 1" border of the puff pastry with the jam and frangipane on it.
- Carefully drape the second pastry circle over the frangipane, lightly pressing the border with a fork to seal. Using a very sharp knife, lightly score the pastry in any pattern you like, finishing with a small hole in the center for the steam to vent. Brush the top of the galette with the remaining egg wash and freeze on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. (Freezing will relax the gluten so your galette’s shape stays intact and the layers of puff will rise more.)
- Bake for 15 minutes at 375°, then reduce the heat to 350° for an additional 30 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes, then serve.