macarons in the style of galette des rois Jill Colonna

Who’s King? (Or Queen?)

I love living in France. Just when the festivities are over and we grudgingly dismantle the Christmas decorations, there’s something else to celebrate: Epiphany. We do this by eating the Galette des Rois (or King Cake) which takes its name from the biblical 3 Kings. I was going to take down our traditional crêche (nativity scene) with the other decorations, but I was quite rightly told by my daughters to keep it since they hadn’t yet added the Kings and of course, Mum – we haven’t yet eaten the galette! I took a hint.

Kings at Epiphany

In French supermarkets, you begin to see them as early as Christmas time. Officially my agenda informed me that Epiphany was on Sunday 2nd January so we’ve already had quite a few before the traditional 6 January. No doubt we’ll also have quite a few more… This week the Pâtisseries around Paris have been going mad displaying them in their vitrines.

galettes des rois in Paris Pâtisseries

Normally filled with frangipane or almond cream, the galette includes a fève or trinket hidden inside. The youngest person in the group sits under the table and calls each person’s name in turn as the galette is cut without them seeing and then served out. That way there is no favouritism if the person cutting the galette sees the trinket. The person who gets the piece with the trinket inside gets to be crowned king (or queen) for the day.

cutting the galette des rois french tradition

Who’s snooping around under the table?

The Galette des Rois is so easy to make at home yourself (see my French king cake recipe here), especially as in France they sell ready-made frangipane mixes in the supermarkets and all you need to add is some water to the mix (although I add milk and a touch more almond extract.) Well, there are times when we’re allowed to cheat when the kids go back to school.

galette des rois frangipane recipe

It’s amazing just how many galettes we have consumed recently as here is just a selection of my children’s trinket collection. Don’t you just love the mini macarons? Merci, Emma 🙂

fève trinkets for galettes des rois

Hm. You guessed it. It was inspiration for some of my own macarons in the style of a galette des rois. Like all macarons, this is gluten-free.

macarons in the style of galette des rois Jill Colonna

galette style macarons with a feve inside

I simply adapted my recipe for Almond Macarons on P.38 of the book, adding 70g ground almonds, 1 tsp bitter almond extract and a good tablespoon of Kirsch (or you could use dark rum) to the macaron filling. Don’t forget to add a trinket inside. OK, the one above is a bit too visible but I was scared that folk may break their teeth 😉 I bought a couple of lovely fève collections this week from Saint Germain-en-Laye: clocks and Venetian masks to get us in the Carnaval Spirit.

Oh, and to finish off with a song, you’ll need to sing this with your crown on:

J’aime la galette savez vous comment ?

Quand elle est bien faite avec du beurre dedans, tra-la-la… !

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