How to Make Galette des Rois

If you are lucky enough to visit Paris around Christmas time or just after you will see the Galette des Rois (or Kings' Cake) in the window of every patisserie and bakery. The cake is traditionally eaten on 6th January to celebrate the Epiphany and "draw the kings" to the baby Jesus.

Two versions exist: in Paris and northern France the cake (which can be either circular or rectangular) consists of flaky puff pastry layers with a dense center of frangipane.

In the south of France the cake, rather called gâteau des rois or royaume, is a ring-shaped brioche with candied fruits.

Galette des Rois

In accordance with the French tradition, a figurine (la fève) is hidden inside the cake and whoever finds the token in their slice becomes king or queen for the day. Originally, la fève was literally a broad bean (fève), but they were replaced in 1870 by a variety of figurines out of porcelain or - more recently - plastic.

Individual bakeries may offer a specialized line of fèves depicting everything you can think of from great works of art to classic movie stars and popular cartoon characters.

Below is a recipe for the Parisian Galette des Rois so that even if you have never been to Paris at Christmas you can indulge in this delicious treat!

Galette des Rois


  • 1/4 cup of almond paste
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 (17.26 ounce) pack of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 dry kidney bean
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Icing sugar for dusting

16 servings


  1. Place the almond paste into a food processor or blender with about half of the sugar, and process until well blended. Add the remaining sugar plus the butter and process until smooth. Then add 1 egg, the flour, salt, almond extract and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Butter a baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and set aside.
  3. Roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11 inch square. Keep the pastry cool, do not knead or stretch. Use a large plate, cake pan or frying pan to trace an 11 inch circle onto the dough using the tip of a small knife. Place the circle of pastry onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry. Refrigerate both sheets.
  4. Mound the almond filling onto the center of the pastry that is on the baking sheet. Leave about 1 1/2 inch margin at the edges. Press the bean or feve down into the filling. Place the second sheet of pastry on top, and press down the edges to seal. Beat the remaining egg with a fork, and lightly brush onto the top of the gallette. Use a knife to make a criss cross pattern in the egg wash, and then prick several small slits in the top to vent steam while baking.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven being careful not to open the oven until the time is up. Remove from the oven, and dust with icing sugar. Return to the oven, and cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Serve warm or cold, with a paper crown on top of the cake to crown whoever gets the fève.