TRADITIONAL FRENCH THREE KINGS CAKE RECIPE
You’ve heard about la Galette des Rois or maybe of the French Three Kings Cake? But do you know much about it? Do you know what it is and why it’s a thing in France?
You will find a version of this cake in several countries in Europe. La Galette des Rois means the Three Kings Cake and the kings in questions are the Wise Men from the Christian tradition. Or so you are led to believe as a child, when you grow up in France. Even better, and not that it makes much sense, but if you find the figurine in the cake (or la feve as we call it), you will be king or queen for the day and will wear your crown with pride. Rare is the galette that comes without a golden cardboard crown these days.
When I was looking for a recipe to make my galette this year, I looked several up, and I came across this one from Raymond Blanc. He seems to think that the galette tradition was invented by a commercially minded patissier, but actually, I think he’s wrong and I also don’t think much of his recipe… So there! In the end, it is all down to taste but I like my galette with a generous filling and his feels a bit on the Scroodge side of things.
I absolutely loved this french article on the origins of the three kings cake, so please arm yourself of Google translate and give it a read for a bit more of a historical background.
Anyway, here is my mish-mash version of several recipes. It makes a small three kings cake, about 20 cm diametres and it will feed 4 not very hungry adults or one very happy Katia.
Please note that the filling I make below is for two galettes so half the portion if you want one, or do what I do, use half and freeze the other half for another time you may want a freshly made French three kings cake with zero hassle!
- One packet of pre-made puff pastry. I use Rollit pastry as it is all butter and is made in Ireland. When I’m in Marks, I’ll also buy theirs as it’s all butter and will keep it in the freezer. This is a 400 g block of pastry but you’ll have a bit of it left over.
- About 150 g of ground almonds.
- 100 g of sugar
- 75 g of soft butter
- Two eggs and the yolk of a third one
- One small shot of white rhum
- In a bowl mix all the ingredients apart from the rhum and the one egg yolk. Mix everything well until all the butter is fully incorporated. This is an important step so please take your time as you do not want pools of butter to run from your cake. Add the rhum a few drops at a time as you don’t want the mixture to become to runny.
- Cut the block in half and roll it until it thin and fit for a tart. Use a large soupe terrine or a small plate and turn it upside down on the pastry. Cut around the edges and you have one perfect circle. Place it on top of parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Take half the filling paste and spread it from the centre of the circle. Please don’t go spread it up to the edges, leave about 1.5 cm of naked pastry.
- Repeat step 2 and bring it on top of the first circle of pastry and close it down. Use a fork to lightly press the edges of both circles of pastry together.
- Decorate the top of the galette if you like (have a look online there are so many fab designs) and then brush the egg yolk on the pastry to help give it a wee glaze.