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What To Know About France's Galette des Rois

December 28, 2021
2021-12-28
France has so many delectable treats and incredible sweets that you can almost mistake Paris for a more elegant Willy Wonka factory. From the colorful macarons to the more fulfilling eclairs, the country is a sweet tooth's paradise. Did you also know that some of the French desserts that you love so much actually have meaning? A good example is Galette des Rois, also known as the 'King Cake.' Its sweet taste and crumbly goodness aren't the only things that make it so royally good! This particular dessert is actually part of a long-held French tradition that you might want to know about!

What To Know About France's Galette des Rois
Source: Flickr.com/ Steph Gray


Where did Galette des Rois Come From?

Though its specific place of origin within France isn't exactly known, the tradition of enjoying Galette des Rois itself started all the way back in the 14th-century. From that time until now, the French have prepared and served this particular dessert every January 6th, considered as the 'Day of the Three Kings' in the French holiday calendar, right on the dot. There was a point, however, during the French revolution, that they called it 'Gâteau de l'égalité' ('cake of equality' in English) instead since calling it in 'Galette des Rois' ('cake of kings' in English) wasn't exactly appropriate at a time when the country was dismantling its monarchy.


How to Make Galette des Rois

Just like making a baguette, making Galette des Rois is actually pretty simple and easy. First up, you need to get all the ingredients. They include 2 ready-made puff pastries, 2 large pears, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 3 eggs, 60 grams of dark chocolate, 100 grams of softened butter, ground almonds, and 1 fève. A fève is a special porcelain trinket used to store in a Galette des Rois. If you don't have one nor you can't find a place that sells one, you can always go old-school and use a bean instead. This particular item is important for following the Galette des Rois tradition.

What To Know About France's Galette des Rois


Once you've gathered all the ingredients, it's time to start the process. Begin by preheating the oven at 200°C (392°F) and peeling and chopping up the pears. Once you're done with the latter, glaze them over medium heat with a large frying pan and add in the melted butter. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar to caramelize the pears while you're at it. When that's done, you can melt the dark chocolate by heating it for one minute in a microwave.

Set it aside afterward before pouring it on one of the puff pastries laid out on a baking sheet. In the meantime, you can mix the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and ground almonds into a mixture. When they're all blended together, you can pour it over the chocolate and puff pastry, then top that with the sliced pairs and add in the fève before closing it with the second puff pastry as the crust. Once this is all finished, bake it for around 25 to 30 minutes until it's golden brown.


The Proper Ways to Serve Galette des Rois

The tradition of Galette des Rois is actually more on how it's served than how it's prepared. You can get away with putting your own spins on the French dessert but you have to be warier on how you serve it to others when it comes to the tradition. Each person must have a slice of equal size, handed out by having the youngest child in the family call out the order of who gets the slice first and so on and so forth to avoid favoritism. Then, once everyone has their own slice, everyone can start digging in. The one who gets the fève in his/her slice becomes the winner and is proclaimed le roi (the king) or la reine (the queen). They then get to wear the paper crown that the dessert comes with.


Where to Find The Tastiest Galette des Rois in Paris

As modern a place as Paris aims to be, even this city follows the Galette des Rois every January 6th too! The famous Parisian chocolatier, Pierre Hermé, for instance, makes his with rice pudding, caramel galette, and, of course, topped with his world-famous chocolate to boot. While the famous Angelina Café in the 1st arrondissement, on the other hand, covers theirs with edible gold dust for that sparkling royal glow. These and more patisseries in the French capital offer their own spins on the traditional French dessert, keeping the tradition alive as time goes by.

What To Know About France's Galette des Rois


There's always something so fascinating about France's many traditions. Preparing and eating Galette des Rois, for instance, is one that's sweet, historic, and pretty interesting. You might want to learn about it if you'll be here at the start of the new year.

If you can score a luxury home with a great kitchen, you can easily take part in France's Galette des Rois tradition too!




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