January sixth is the Day of Epiphany in France—a religious holiday that celebrates Christ being visited by the Three Kings on the Twelfth Night. Fair enough. But what makes the holiday worth nothing is that the French celebrate all month long with wonderful galettes des rois.
The cakes beckon from everywhere; from neighborhood boulangeries to renowned patisseries, hard to miss because of the paper crowns that top them.
They’re not the prettiest cakes the French make. But they’re exquisite for anyone who loves creamy almond paste as much as I do.
The construct is relatively simple—essentially frangipane (almond paste) inside flaky puff pastry. A little egg and sugar, maybe some crème fraiche or Grand Marnier. It depends on the recipe and baker. But I’m quite certain all versions are delicious.
There are also some strange traditions associated with this celebration: a small plastic charm, une fève, is hidden inside for some lucky recipient to get and become king for the day.
Once the galette is cut, a child hides under the table to give the name of the person that will be served next.
The galettes are often washed down with cider or dry white wine.
Another reason to love the French.