This is really a tart or pie sort of “cake” that dates back to medieval times, and is meant to celebrate the feast of the three wise men or three kings from the nativity of Christ.
The Epiphany feast is held on the 6th of January each year, and this dessert is therefore eaten on this day of course, but folks start enjoying it as early as January 1st in my experience living in France.
French Almond Frangipane Galette des Rois or Kings Cake Recipe
The tart or kings cake is made with puff pastry that encases a creamy frangipane or almond cream filling. More traditionally, this filling recipe also has a crème patisserie element, but nowadays you mostly find it with the almond cream only.
The galette des rois or kings cake is also meant to look like a crown, and it hides a “fève” or ceramic bean (treasure) inside it. The person who finds the bean is crowned the king for the day and wears a paper crown.
The galette des rois is often accompanied by any local sparkling wine (not Champagne) like Crémant de Limoux, Crémant d’Alsace etc.
This recipe I’m sharing with you today is a slight variation from the recipe from a famous French chef called Cyril Lignac. My recipe is a tad simpler and you only need to mix all the frangipane ingredients in a bowl using a wooden spoon.
You can also flavor the frangipane with a little almond extract or vary the flavors by adding chocolate chips to the mix or a thin layer of chocolate spread to the base of your pastry too!
Because this is such a simple and inexpensive recipe, my only suggestion to get a really tasty galette is to invest in a good quality, all butter pastry. If you can get a block of puff pastry and roll it out yourself, then I’d go for that option.
In France, they sell ready-rolled round puff pastry that is super practical for tart recipes like this. But even then, you can get pastry that is rolled too thin, and your galette won’t rise too much. So be sure to get a thicker pastry that would give nicer layers when baked!
Of course, if you can be bothered and know how, you can attempt to make your own puff pastry. but honestly, not even renowned chefs make their own puff pastry these days. So why bother, right?
Anyways, hope you enjoy this recipe and feel inspired to have a go making it this winter! My kids LOVED this dessert served with crème anglaise or English custard, and I’m’ thinking of making it more often throughout the Fall and winter season too!
Check out the video to see all the details of how to make this delicious almond French kings cake or frangipane galette des rois!