Just after all the festive over-indulgence of Christmas and New Year, the French have one more perfect excuse for stuffing your face up their sleeves : the Galette des Rois or Epiphany Cake, eaten on 6th January (which is known as Twelfth Night in England and heralds the final day for taking down your Christmas decorations without it bringing bad luck). In practice, they're eaten well into January though, at home with the family but also at work with bosses offering a traditional get-together with galettes to welcome in the new year.
We usually buy ours ready-made - the boulangeries and supermarkets are full of them - but we decided to make our own this year. They're dead easy, you just need two packs of ready-made puff pastry and the filling of your choice - traditionally you can get apple puree, cream or frangipane (almond paste) ones. We bought a kit with a chocolate and coconut almond paste filling mix and, all importantly, the crown and "fève". (More about those in a minute.) Fève literally means broad bean and I'm sure that's what was originally used. These days, they are little china figurines - many people collect them and there are thousands of different ones available.
Sophie mixed up the filling.
It looked and tasted more chocolatey than almond pastey !
Time to sandwich it between the puff pastry sheets.
Not forgetting to hide the fève in there somewhere.
Look closely - can you see what I wrote on there with the tip of a knife? 1D 2014 - Sophie was very chuffed. She's obsessed with One Direction, I tell you !
We popped it in the oven while we ate our dinner and it came out golden brown and smelling lovely and buttery.
Traditionally, the youngest member (or in our case members) of the family has to go under the table and call out the names of the people at the table while the slices are handed out, so that there's no cheating over who gets the fève (even though there almost always is because the person cutting inevitably sees it and makes sure one of the kids gets it!).
Whoever gets the fève in their piece of cake is crowned the king or queen and gets to choose their royal other half.
Sophie kindly gave her royal title over to Pierre who named me his queen ! It's a lovely tradition that reminds me a bit of the Christmas pudding with sixpences hidden in it. Definitely not good news for healthy eating New Year's resolutions though !
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