King cake

The French and their monarchs

French people are surprising, if not weird sometimes. I know, I am one of them! They brag themselves about having abolished the monarchy in 1992 and even guillotined the King of France, re-batipsed Citizen Louis Capet, in 1993. A way to say "No Gods, No Masters", quite a while before the expression was invented by the anarchists...
Definitively? Surely not! France will take almost 80 years before totally switching to a non-monarchist regime. From 1804 to 1870, after a very hectic revolutionary period, France had successively:
- one emperor -is it really different from a king?- Napoleon I
- three kings, Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis-Philippe
- one president of the republic...
- one emperor again. In fact the elected president of the republic and the self proclaimed emperor are the same person: Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon I. As he could not, constitutionally speaking, be reelected after a 4-year mandate, he mae a coup and seized power, to found the second empire and rule the country under the name of Napoleon III. Till 1870, the defeat of Sedan against Germany and the election of a president of the republic, once for all...

Hundreds of thousands of kings and queens every year

And you would think that, after that, the French would be done with the queens and kings? Notwithstanding the fact that they elected presidents like De Gaulle or Mitterand who used to behave like real monarch, the French are choosing a king, or a queen, every year on January 6th...
The principle is simple: a "galette" i.e. a puff pastry cake filled up with almond cream or frangipane (see recipes below). A bean -in the past this was a real dry bean, this is now a little ceramic object- is hidden in the galette. The youngest person of the party gets under the table and attributes a slice to all the participants. The one who gets the bean is the king or the queen, and he or she has to choose his queen or her king...

Today, I made a galette with a homemade puff pastry and a frangipane, which is the combination of a crème anglaise et an almond cream:

Ingredients (6 servings):

Puff pastry:
2 sheets of puff pastry. I made mine using a quick technique named the "snail puff pastry", but obviously, any commercial puff pastry will do the job:
  • 200 g of strained AP flour
  • 200 g of frozen salted butter
  • 100 cl of cold water
Crème anglaise:
  • 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract (or a vanilla bean)
  • 15 cl of whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 25 g of sugar
  • 15 g of strained corn starch
  • 10 g of strained AP flour
  • 10 g of soft butter
Almond cream:
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 125 g of toasted and almond
  • 100 g of soft butter
  • 1 tbsp. of rum


Puff pastry:
  • Mix the flour and the water (slow speed of the blender)
  • Add the frozen butter and mix roughly (high speed of the blender).
  • Form a block and lower it with a spin till obtaining a thin sheet
  • Roll this sheet side-wise
  • Then roll it to form like a snail shell (see picture)
  • Tightly wrap the snail in a transparent film and reserve in the fridge for 1/2 hour
Crème anglaise:
  • Pour the vanilla extract (or let infuse the seeds scratched from the vanilla bean) in the lukewarm milk in a pan
  • Whisk the yolks and the sugar
  • Add the corn starch and the flour, and thoroughly mix the whole
  • Pour this mix in the milk and stir up regularly while heating it up. After a couple of minutes, the milk will thicken. Put out of the burner and keep on stirring up till obtaining a stabilized "puree" texture.
  • Cover with a transparent film in contact with the cream and let cool down
Almond cream:
  • Mix the eggs, the sugar, the almond powder, the butter and the rum, till obtaining a smooth texture

  • Mix the crème anglaise and the almond cream
  • Reserve in the fridge for 1/2 hour
Preparation of the galette: 

  • Take tour snail-shape dough out of the fridge and place the "snail" vertically. This is important, otherwise, you won't create a sufficient number of layers
  • Squeeze the snail vertically with your hands to form a block. You can see the numerous layers created by the fact to roll horizontally, then vertically, the dough
  • Lower it with the spin to obtain a few millimeters thin sheet.
  • Cut in two and make two circles of a diameter of around 10" (or your targeted size)
  • Place the frangipane on the lower circle, up to around 1 inch from the circumference
  • Don't forget to stick the bean in the frangipane, close to the outsidet
  • With a brush, spread water on the non-covered part of the circumference
  • Place the second circle on top of the frangipane, while evacuating as much air as possible
  • With your fingers, pinch the two circles together, then, with a knife, make notches every 1/4" to help the galette rising up
  • With a brush, spread yolk diluted with water on the top, to give it a nice color
  • With a knife, punch the top sheet in different places
Baking and other stuff:
  • Place the galette on a plaque with a parchment paper in-between
  • Bake in a 375F preheated oven for 40 minutes
  • Take out of the oven and brush the top with a sugar syrup (40 g of water and 40 g of sugar) to give it a nice shiny look
  • Slice the galette in as many slices as guests
  • Ask the youngest one to go under the table and to attribute each slice

Vive le roi!!! Vive la reine!!!


  1. I never heard of the snail method of puff pastry. Very creative!

  2. Isn't it? I send you a video with a demo of it...


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