French Culture Awareness #2 : Epiphany in France
Epiphany is a Christian holiday: it is the celebration of the coming and incarnation of Jesus Christ and it is believed to be the day when the Magi (or three wise men), les Rois Mages, visited Mary and Jesus bearing gifts. However, most people celebrate Epiphany in France regardless of their religious beliefs as it's a good excuse to eat something sweet! Let's look at what you can eat in France on the 6th of January:
La Galette des Rois:
This is the classic one and you can find it everywhere in France. You can buy one at supermarkets or bakeries. It is round with a puff pastry layers and a dense centre of frangipane.
La Galette Comtoise:
It is only found near Besançon and the pastry is similar to choux pastry and it is a lot more dense than the traditional galette des rois
Le Gâteau des Rois:
The gâteau (and not galette!) is more popular in the South of France but it can be found everywhere too. It is a crown shaped brioche filled with candied fruits. You can also buy chocolate versions of both the galette and gâteau des rois if you're not too fond of candied fruits (like me!).
Eating the galette des rois is a nice family tradition. Although Epiphany is on January 6th, we eat the first galette on the second Sunday after Christmas - or the first Sunday of January, unless it falls on January 1st - which allows for the galette to be eaten during the traditional family Sunday lunch.
Before serving slices of the galette, the youngest person (usually a child) needs to hide under the table and announces who gets the next slice. This way, we don't know where the fève is and no one can cheat! The fève plays an essential role: it is a small porcelain figure placed inside the galette. Whoever gets the fève is the King or Queen of the day and wears the crown that comes with every galette you buy! Being the King or Queen comes with the responsibility of buying a new galette and bringing it the next time you eat with your family. That way, we get to eat galette for the whole month of January and not just on Epiphany.
Here's our Galette des Rois, homemade and baked by my husband!
Fancy baking your own? Then follow this recipe:
Ingredients: – ½ cup of Sugar – 1/3 cup of Butter – 2 eggs – 2 yolks – 1 cup of Ground almond – 2 rolls of puff pastry For the frangipane Whip the sugar and the butter at room temperature until the mix whitens. Add one whole egg while keeping whipping, then the ground almond and then the other egg. Mix well. For the puff pastry Cook or buy the equivalent of 2 rolls of puff pastry. Spread each puff pastry in the shape of a plate. On one of the puff pastry, pour the frangipane in the middle and spread it on the pastry while avoiding the sides. Put the other pastry on top and roll the sides towards the inside to seal the galette. Then take a brush and spread some yolk on the whole cake to give it a golden color. Let the whole cake rest for 45 minutes. Spread again some yolk. With a knife, draw horizontal and vertical lines on the dough (without cutting it!) and put in an oven for 25 minutes at 180°C. Serve mild or hot and enjoy!
So, where are you going to get your galette des rois from this year? ☺️