Galette des Rois

from The East Coast Celebrations Cookbook

Galette des Rois is traditionally served in France on Epiphany each January 6th to mark the day the three kings arrived to greet baby Jesus and deliver the gifts of the Magi. We began making this part of our holiday celebrations several years ago when a fantastic local bakery began selling the cakes. I’ve now tried my hand at it, and it’s very simple to make, especially when using store-bought puff pastry. The almond filling is lovely on its own, but I find the added touches of orange and dark chocolate make it extra special along with the hidden surprise inside. 

As the tradition goes, whoever finds the hidden charm inside the cake – often a dried fava bean, also known as a feve, a whole almond, or a porcelain figurine – wins a prize or even becomes king for the day. The small charm is said to represent Jesus as a child. Not only is this a delicious dessert, but it’s also an engaging treat for families who celebrate these Christmas traditions.


1/3 cup (80 mL) butter, softened

¾ cup (175 mL) sugar

¾ cup (175 mL) ground almonds

2 eggs

1 tbsp (15 mL) orange zest

1 tsp (5 mL) brandy or rum

½ tsp (2.5 mL) pure almond extract

2 sheets of all-butter puff pastry sheets (1 package)

1/3 cup (80 mL) dark chocolate chunks (I prefer Caliebaut pistoles)

1 whole fried bean, almond or porcelain charm

1 egg yolk

2 tsp (10 mL) turbinado sugar


Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).

Cream together the butter and sugar until light in colour. Add the ground almonds, whole eggs, orange zest, brandy and almond extract and beat until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Roll the puff pastry sheets out so they are 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, then cut both into 10-inch (25 cm) rounds, using a cake pan or something similar for shape. Place 1 round onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread the refrigerated almond filling evenly on top, leaving a 1 ½ inch (4 cm) gap around the edge. Place little chunks or pistoles of dark chocolate sporadically over the almond filling. Place the dried bean, whole almond or whatever charm you wish to hide inside the cake in a random spot. 

Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of water to create an egg wash and brush the exposed edge on the bottom piece of puff pastry. Carefully lay the second piece of puff pastry over the filling and gently press around the edge to create a seal. Brush the entire top of the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash.

To decorate the puff pastry, drag a sharp knife from the centre point to the edge of the pastry in an arc. Eight cuts should be enough to create the “crown” effect. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar while the egg wash is still wet enough for it to stick.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until crisp and golden on the bottom and top. Cool completely before serving.

Serves 8 

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: Having Orthodox roots means celebrating Christmas twice – Dec 25 and Jan 6. Variations of this dessert always graced our table during the latter festivities. 

All photos and excerpts published with express permission of Formac Publishing Limited