A Galette des Rois is a traditional French tart that is enjoyed all over France in January to celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas and it’s also known as 3 Kings (Rois) Day or the Feast of Epiphany. It’s the day that the Eastern & Catholic Church celebrate the 3 Wise Men or Kings visiting Jesus with their gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.
France is a very secular country now but every year traditional Galette des Rois fill pastry shop windows and are enjoyed all over the country. Particularly on January the 6th. The tart is round and gold in color representing a King's crown and it's made of puff pastry and filled with an almond frangipane filling. It’s also a tradition to hide a Feve’ in the tart. A Feve’ is often a small, porcelain figurine of a baby, a bean, or a whole almond. This represents the baby, Jesus. Whoever finds the feve in their piece of galette is crowned the King or Queen of the Feast. That person has to then prepare or purchase the next Galette De Rois for the next party.
Many countries have their own version of this tradition and a tart to go with it. In Spain, they celebrate Epiphany with a donut-shaped Brioche (Sweet Bread) with candied fruit and crystallized sugar called a Roscón de Reyes. Epiphany is a significant holiday in Spain that includes parades, gift-giving and a Feast in the evening.
King cakes are also popular in the southern US in January as Epiphany kicks off the beginning of Mardi Gras where King cakes are everywhere. The American version of the King Cake is similar to the Spanish as it is a sweet woven brioche ring. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors - purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is traditionally hidden inside each King Cake.
So we took inspiration from each of these three different versions into our Theo’s Feast Galette Des Rois. Our cake incorporates the french puff pastry with purple blueberries, and green pistachio and the gold comes from the traditional Almond Frangipane filling.
It’s simple to make, delicious to eat, and easy to share.
Galette de Rois Recipe
This recipe makes two 9” tarts. Each tart serves up to 8 people.
Prep time is 45 minutes plus and additional an hour for chilling, baking, and cooling.
1 - 2 boxes of frozen puff pastry - Thawed. Store purchased puff pastry varies in size and quality. I prefer to use the Seven Days brand puff pastry as it has 2 large sheets of higher quality than most other brands I have used. You will want enough puff pastry to make 4, 9-10 inch round disks to make 2 tarts.
3/4 cup of pure Maple Syrup for glazing the tart.
Traditional Frangipane Filling
6 tablespoons (85 grams) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (85 grams) confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup (85 grams) almond flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, or vanilla paste
1 tablespoon spiced rum (optional)
Working with a mixer or by hand, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and light. Beat in the almond flour. Mix in the eggs followed by the spiced rum (optional) and the vanilla extract. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Theo’s Feast inspired Purple and Green Frangipane filling:
Blueberries are a beautiful purple, and Pistachios are nice and green. We simply mix these two ingredients into the above frangipane base to achieve our 3 Mardi Gras-inspired colors of Purple, Green, and Gold.
Purple Blueberry Frangipane Ingredients:
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons of red wine (optional) or water.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch ground star anise
In a small saucepan mix the blueberries with the spices and red wine. Heat on medium-low heat until the blueberries simmer and burst. About 10 minutes. Lightly break up the blueberries with your spoon. Cool the Blueberry sauce in the fridge.
Green Pistachio Frangipane
1 cup of shelled and roasted Pistachios.
1/4 cup of fresh mint, finely chopped
Grind the pistachios in a spice grinder, or a food processor, or finely chop them with a sharp knife.
Mix with the finely chopped mint and set aside.
Making the three colors:
Once your Frangipani is well chilled. Split it into 3 parts in three different bowls. Mix in the blueberry sauce into one. Mix in the pistachios in another and reserve the final bowl of the almond paste that is nice and yellow to represent the gold.
Place all ingredients in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the tart.
You will need a sharp paring knife or modeling knife/box cutter also works well for cutting the puff pastry.
Place the thawed Puff Pastry dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. using a 9- 10” plate or tart pan cut out 4 disks.
Starting with the Blueberry almond paste, add about 3 - 4 tablespoons of blueberry almond paste into the center of the puff pastry disk. Follow that with a ring of the pistachio paste, then a ring of plain almond paste. You want to be sure to leave a 1/2 ring bare, around the outside of the almond paste so you can add one or two narrow more rings of puff pastry to help build up the height of the finished/baked tart.
Insert one whole almond or pistachio. This will be the Feve’ that represents finding Baby Jesus.
Preheat your Oven to 425 F.
Use the plate or tart pan you used to cut the initial disks to cut a 1/2/ - 3/4 inch curved strips to place as inserts around the outside of the almond paste building up the side. Using a pastry brush, brush some maple syrup in between each layer of dough. It will act as an adhesive when it bakes.
Put a final coat of maple syrup on the top of the edge of the dough. Then gently lay the top layer of puff pastry over the tart. Carefully align the edges with the built-up dough underneath.
Use a sharp paring knife or a craft razor blade knife. to score the top of your tart in your desired pattern. The traditional french version is scored with curved cuts starting from the center of the pie to give it a spiral shape. Be sure to use a very sharp knife. Be careful only to score the puff pastry. You don’t want to cut all the way through. You might want to practice on a few scrap pieces of dough prior to scoring your tart.
Cut 6 small slits in the top as steam vents.
Glaze the top of the tart with a thin coat of maple syrup.
Insert the tart into the oven. After the first 5 minutes, turn the heat down to 375 and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the galette is puffed and deeply golden.
Give it a second coat of Maple syrup after 25 minutes. Back for another 7- 10 minutes until it's golden brown. Then once glaze the tart once more after it comes out of the oven for the last time
Serve at room temperature with coffee and tea. Don’t forget that whoever finds the feve’ is the King or queen of the Feast!
Here are a few thoughtful questions to ask your friends as you enjoy your Galette de Rois:
This Galette de Rois is a traditional french tart that is shared throughout France as they celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany means a sudden revelation or realization whether that is a revelation of God or a personal revelation or realization.
As you reflect over this past year, have you had any personal Epiphanies?
If so how? If not what do you think might be holding you back from personal breakthroughs?
Epiphany could also be described as man’s search for the divine, his quest for answers to the spiritual questions he struggles with, as the three Wisemen embarked on their epic journey to find the baby Jesus. How would you describe your spiritual journey over the past year? What spiritual questions have you been searching for answers for?
The three colors within the Galette De Rois are symbolic. Purple represents God’s justice, green represents faith, and gold represents God’s power.
Which color do you identify with?
If you were to ask God to manifest himself in a tangible way, what would that be?
What is your prayer or hope for the new year?