Galette des Rois – Epiphany Cake




Yesterday, we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as the Three Kings Day. Together with many French households across the globe, we enjoyed a cake that is traditionally made with frangipane sandwiched between two buttery and flaky layers of pâte feuilletée (puff pastry). The recipe I used is a variation on the traditional cake, which has melted dark chocolate added to an almond mixture, which is then topped with sliced pears. I couldn’t find my ceramic fèves, so I used a small seashell. Not just any seashell, though, this one we found on an island in Hạ Long Bay, Viet Nam.

This recipe comes from the online journal Linteraute, a fabulous resource for lifestyle tips and all sorts of information on how to be cool. Their culinary page is full of modern and traditional recipes that come with mouth-watering photographs. You can even watch a video of adorable chef David Alexandre make this recipe here. The written recipe with step-by-step photos can also be found here. Please note that the entire site, as well as the video are in French. But that shouldn’t stop you from watching David bake. French men are sexy. French men who cook and bake are heavenly creatures.




We had the pleasure of sharing our galette with our neighbors Pierre and Claudia, along with their children Annick and Miguel. What are the odds of having a husband and neighbor named Pierre in Ann Arbor? Anyway, below are photos of our celebration. They were kind enough to indulge us and went under the table as I cut the cake. Annick called out who got what slice. She ended up having the slice with the fève (coincidence?) and thus, won the crown and bragging rights for a year.

While the official feast day was yesterday, people in France will enjoy this galette all through the month of January. In the past, this was an 8-day feast that began on January 6 and ended on the octave of the Epiphany on January 13. Therefore, you still have time to celebrate. So what are you waiting for?

Alors, bonne fête!





adapted from Linternaute


  • 125 grams (1 cup) freshly ground almonds
  • 100 grams (~7Tbl) softened butter
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100 grams (~3.5 oz.) dark chocolate, gently melted over a double boiler or on low heat in the microwave
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and stemmed, with each half cut into 8 slices (you can also use canned/preserved pears)
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1 ceramic fève
  • egg wash (one egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. of milk/water)
  • simple syrup – equal parts melted sugar and water (optional)


  • Roll out one the pastry sheets and cut a circle with a 10-inch diameter. Using the other pastry sheet, repeat and cut another circle, but make this one 10 1/2 inch in diameter. (This larger circle will go on the top of the filling later). Place both pastry rounds in the refrigerator to chill and rest for at least 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small/medium bowl, blend with a spoon the ground almonds, butter and sugar. Add one egg and mix until thoroughly combined. Now, add the second egg and mix again.
  • Next, add the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Set mixture aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 475F.
  • Take the chilled rounds of pastry dough from the refrigerator and with a knife, gently score the larger disc. You can make large criss-crosses, spirals or whatever fancies you.
  • Lay the bottom pastry disc on a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Add the chocolate-almond mixture and spread in an even layer (be careful to leave at least 1.5 inch space at the edge).
  • Top the chocolate with pear slices. Nestle the fève into the filling.
  • Cover with the top pastry disc. Carefully seal and crimp the edges. With a knife, score the edges.
  • Brush the center of the cake (not the edges) with the egg wash.
  • Bake on a baking sheet at 475F for 10 minutes. Then lower the the heat to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes.
  • When the cake is done, remove from heat and while it is still hot, you can brush simple syrup over the entire cake. This will add a lovely sheen.

Note 1: If you look at the photos, you’ll see that I placed the pastry round in a tart pan. *Bad idea* So, don’t be silly like me – form the cake on a sheet of parchment or wax paper, which will make it easier to transfer to a baking sheet. I also didn’t leave enough space at the edge (1 in. instead of 1.5in.) of the pastry round, but I made do and it turned out fine – but I’ll know better next time.

Note 2: To make the traditional version, just omit the chocolate and pears from the recipe.

Bon appétit!

16 Responses to “Galette des Rois – Epiphany Cake”

  1. Mandy Says:

    I have never made Galette des rois before, but your version with chocolate and pear sounds delightful. And so pretty. I want to have a bite now!

  2. mycookinghut Says:

    Hmmmm.. this looks so yummy!!

  3. hunni*b Says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Christine (et Pierre) & assembled aficionados!

    And CONGRATULATIONS on your “new” BLOG/site! (At least, it’s “new” to me! I had initially looked for the article profiling your cooking classes in the November issue of the [local Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County-area] Current ~ then, December… Nada. 😦 What a pleasant surprise to see columnist Nick Roumel’s glowing coverage of you in the January ‘08 issue! His reference to your BLOG therein reminded me to take a peek at it ~ since a combination of our having been out-of-town, and the ensuing holidays had distracted me from doing so.)

    So… Time to blow your own horn, my dear! Have perused your BLOG and there is no mention of the aforementioned article, as of yet. What? Too humble?! Bet your online fans would enjoy reading it! It’s accessible on-line via: 😉

    As for your BLOG: What a BEAUTIFUL site! Also FUN, FUNNY, FRIENDLY, FOLKSY ~ yet a totally PROFESSIONAL effort! The PASSION! The JOY! And so COLORFUL ~ in photos and language! Even a self-confessed “I-don’t-really-enjoy-cooking” creature such as me has a greater understanding as to why you do love to cook!

    Looking forward to following your future culinary (and life’s) adventures!

    HERE’S TO A GREAT ’08 !!!

    Bon Appétit, Mon Cheries!

    Your friend/neighbor/fan,


    P.S. I/we readers would be interested in learning how you came about naming your site…

  4. Tartelette Says:

    Beautiful version! We had ours yesterday and introduced the neighbors to this tradition. Every time I go home for Christmas, I can’t wait to have it and then by the 5th one I am done. We usually send one child under the tale to call out names and my dad is always “fixing” who gets it…not fair!!

  5. Jen Says:

    I was going to comment on the two Pierres 🙂 Such a gorgeous cake and I like your additional ingredients to the traditional! Annick is adorable. I shall have to satisfy myself with pictures of your galette this time as a real one in my kitchen would seriously interfere with my ARP (Ass Reduction Plan) which I’d like to say began in December, not January 😉 xxoo

  6. holybasil Says:

    Mandy – I hope you’ll get a chance to try it one of these days. It’s so much fun to see if you get the fève.

    Mycookinghut – Thanks

    Hunni*b- Thank you thank you thank you for your kind comments! I just found the article – thank you for the link. Pierre and I are lucky to have such awesome neighbors.

    As for name of this blog – honestly, I really wanted Lemongrass but it was taken. I like the flavor of holybasil and its cultural application sounded nice to me. Pretty boring reason, I think. But that’s it, really.

    Tartelette- I’m glad you also enjoyed a galette des rois. Pierre’s mother told me she used to add several fèves so that all the children would get one. Her way of fixing the game!

    ARP – you make me laugh! Mine is more of an ALP (ass Lifting plan) – there’s not a whole not to reduce but sagging is a problem 😦

  7. brilynn Says:

    Beautiful galette! I’ve never made one myself, I’ll have to change that!

  8. hunni*b Says:

    THANX for your kind follow-up to my earlier post!

    I just returned to your site to read your updates and while “noodling around” noticed FOR THE 1st TIME the 4 little buttons along the TOP RIGHT EDGE ~ one, in particular, entitled, “Un petit peu…”

    DUH !!!!! 😮

    Therein I found insights as to your philosophy of life, as well as a concise answer (DATED September 4, 2007!) to my (RECENT; just yesterday!) query as to how you chose the name of your blog… 😉

    MY APOLOGIES! There’s just SO MUCH going on within your site that I should have slowed-down and perused it more thoroughly! So here’s a HINT to others who also may have overlooked these additional little “tidbits”:

    Button # 2- “J’adore…” ~
    Christine’s LIST of recommended BOOKS

    Button # 3- “Au Marché…” ~
    a LIST of local food shopping venues

    Button # 4- “Discover…” ~
    INFO on Christine’s upcoming COOKING CLASSES

    Again, DUH !!!! ~ But I hope I’ve redeemed myself!

    Yet another ARP (Lifetime!) member,
    (Thanks to Jen for that brilliant reference!)

  9. Christy Says:

    Happy Feast Day too!!:D
    God bless:D

  10. Warda Says:

    Your neighbors must be very happy to have you around.
    My mother usually makes la galette des rois with apples purree or, my favorite, with almond paste. Never thought about a variation with pears and chocolate. Sounds heavenly!

  11. holybasil Says:

    Brilynn- Thanks!

    Hunn*b – Thank you for all your great input. I’m just pleased you checked out my site!

    Christy – Thanks, et bonne anniversaire 🙂

    Salut Warda – I love the regular with just almond or apples but Pierre isn’t a fan of the almond. More for us, then!

  12. et Says:

    c’est genial car je n’aime pas d’amande du tout – je vais essayer avec ton idee superbe!

  13. holybasil Says:

    et – merci et bon chance!

  14. Rachel geddes Says:

    Hi there. My name is Rachel and I live in Hamilton Ontario CANADA. This year for the Christmas season, my work – HAMILTON POLICE SERVICE – has decided to bake different deserts from around the world. My searches on the internet have brought me here. I am interested in baking ‘La Galette des Rois. The reason I have chosen this desert is because of the story behind it. I was wondering if you might help me out with the tradition a little more. Any info you could pass on would be wonderful. Please feel free to email me at
    Thank you for your time.
    Rachel GEDDES

  15. Katharine Rose Says:

    We ate a galette in my french class today, although I’ve never tried one with pears and chocolate…that sounds so good! I’ll have to make it 😉

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