08 January 2017

La galette des rois... façon Walt

I'm watching yesterday evening's CBS news right now. The British Sky News channel, which we receive on our CanalSat system, sometimes shows the U.S. news on Sunday mornings at 6:30. They just showed reports about the weekend's terrible weather on both the east and west coasts of North America. Snow and ice from North Carolina up into New York and New England. A foot of warm rain falling in California, melting the deep snow on top of mountains and threatening major flooding and landslides. It all makes our weather here in Saint-Aignan seem ridiculously mild and pleasant.

Meanwhile, we've been enjoying our annual galette des rois, the traditional "king cake" made and eaten in France to mark the holiday called the Epiphany — the 12th day of Christmas. It falls on January 6 and in some countries and cultures, is celebrated as Christmas. On North Carolina's Outer Banks, it was called Old Christmas and people there used to observe it instead of December 25. I imagine that's ancient history these days. According to legend (and St. Matthew), the three Wise Men, les Rois-mages in French, followed a star and arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the new-born Christ Child on January 6.

The galette des rois is a cake made of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée, also called "flaky pastry" and used to make croissants) filled with almond cream (made with butter, almond powder, and an egg). You can see the illustrated recipe in this 2009 blog post. Walt makes it all from scratch, and it's an all-day process because the dough has to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes between each of half a dozen foldings and rollings to make the pastry's characteristic layers and crunch.


  1. This cake looks wonderful (and delicious). But what a lot of work to achieve it! In Hungarian puff pastry is called "leveles teszta" which means leafy dough. I think your French word also suggests leaves.

    1. Yes it does. Feuille means leaf and feuilleté means "leafy".

  2. That looks yummy. We'll be hosting our neighbors today for a belated celebration. Great excuse to have bubbly in the afternoon.

  3. It looks great ... and professional. We once bought a Galette de Rois in the Champagne region in mid-January, which had a ceramic medallion baked into it. The person who got the medallion got to wear the crown that came with it. Fortunately we knew it was there, so no one broke a tooth.

  4. I often show photos of your (Walt-made) galettes to my students, when explaining about La Fête des Rois :) So impressive, they are!
    Your recent photos of cold and frosty were excellent!

  5. We've been iced in here with out of town visitors so we've had fun working jigsaw puzzles and watching The Crown and Gilmore Girls, etc plus cooking and eating food food. Who got the feve this year?

  6. I am willing to pay $30 for his galette :-)
    That's what I paid yesterday at the pâtisserie and they were stingy on the almond paste. Y ended up being the King though the two teenagers we had over for dinner with their parents were looking forward to get the fève .
    It is very cold here also and sis texted me to tell me that they had some snow in DC yesterday

  7. I wonder if "Old Christmas" is a hangover from when Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and to much protest "lost" eleven days?


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