Sunday, January 8, 2012


A French friend's homemade galette des rois. Une réussite.
It's galette des rois season in France...and I say season because these tasty pastries, although traditionally served on Epiphany, are sold and eaten for days before observance of the Christian festival, as well as for a couple of weeks after. Most of France, secular included (because nearly everyone succumbs repeatedly to the playful charm of the tradition), will be putting on weight these next few days.

The galette is typically made of pâte feuilletée stuffed with either frangipane or compote de pomme, in which a "fève" is hidden. When served, the custom is for the youngest person--usually a child, to hide under the table and to say to whom each piece of galette is to be given. This is what is called " tirer les rois."  The server's question "C'est pour qui?" (Who is it for?)  is almost sung like a refrain. The person whose slice has the fève is the king, and is given a paper crown to wear; if a second crown is available he or she may choose a queen or king.

une galette:  a flat round cake
un roi:  a king
une pâte feuilletée:  a flaky pastry
frangipane:  an almond flavored cream or paste
compote de pomme:  apple sauce
une fève:  a bean which symbolised a piece of money and used to be hidden in the galette des rois; today it is usually a tiny porcelain charm or figurine
tirer les rois:  draw the kings, i.e., select by chance
fait maison:  homemade
une réussite:  a success

©2012 P.B. Lecron

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