Happy Epiphany! King’s Cake Recipe from François Payard

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In case you didn’t know it, there’s a valid reason to leave your Christmas decorations up until well after the New Year, besides just abject laziness. That’s because today (January 6th) is Three Kings’ Day, observed in recognition of the Epiphany, which commemorates the wise men’s visit to baby Jesus.

So leave your pinecone wreaths and light-up Santas be, and whip up a traditional Galette des Rois, also known as King’s Cake. We nabbed a surprisingly simple recipe from none other than dessert guru François Payard, who also sells the puff pastry, almond cream and chocolate ganache-enrobed sweet at his Greenwich Village bakery. And don’t forget to hide a tiny toy inside the cake, which grants temporary royal status to whomever finds it.

As for everyone else? Time to get proactive about finally taking down those holiday decorations.

116 W Houston St., (212) 995-0888


Galette des Rois

(Courtesy of François Payard)


1 pound puff pastry dough

5 oz. ground blanched almonds

5 oz. (about 1 cup) powdered sugar

5 oz. softened butter

2 whole eggs + 1 yolk

1 drop of almond extract

1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)

1 small toy or figurine

Cream filling: mix together almonds and sugar. Add creamed butter, two eggs and rum; mix well together.

Divide the puff pastry dough in half: roll out each half into a 12-inch (about) circle. Lay one pastry round sheet on a (very slightly greased) baking pan. Pour the filling in the middle and spread without reaching the edge. Drop your toy in the filling.

Top carefully with the second circle of dough. Press firmly all around (with moist fingers) to seal the “cake.” Glaze the surface with the remaining beaten egg yolk. (For a little more control over the color, brush the yolk on roughly halfway through the baking)

With a knife or a fork draw some light curved lines for decoration. Make a few tiny cuts on the top (to let out steam during cooking).

Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes in preheated 400-degree oven. Oven temperatures can vary. Remove when golden. Cool and serve while still warm if possible.


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