Friday, 4 February 2011

Galette des rois à l'américaine

In 1996, fresh off the plane, I was bombarded with galette des rois. Everywhere we went, there were there slightly sickly, very cloying frangipan filled flaking round cakes. Since my French was practically nil back then, I didn't quite get the significance of it all.

It wasn't until I met Jérôme whose birthday happens to be around the same time as epiphany that I understood what the galette institution was all about. The king's cake has a fève in it. The etymology alone of that word is enough for a linguiphile to go into spasms of delight. Fève in French is a fava bean in English and is similar to the English word favor (like a party favor!). I may have just actually made that up, but let's pretend it's true.

With my adopted French family, I learned that the youngest person had to go under the table and call out who each piece was for. Whoever got the fève (usually a tacky ceramic figurine) got the crown. I also learned that galettes des rois exist in apple flavor.

Now that Suzanne is in school, the galettes des rois is an essential part of her life. Last year, she got the fève in her class (which she lost the same day during nap time and then found it again the next day in her school bed).

We had our share of galettes des rois this year (3 total at our house which is a lownumber compared to some) but for my husband's birthday, I decided to add a Franco-american twist to the tradition. So I went to my southern roots (actually, no I'm not southern at all) and found a recipe for a Louisiana King Cake. It is basically a brioche rolled jelly-roll style, filled with a cinnamon and nut paste and topped with lemon glaze. And it was damn good.

It was different and got away from the cloying, flakey traditional galette. This is a link to the recipe I used. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Mil said...

That's what I tell my students when they ask if we do something similar in the US. Hope your hubby liked it!

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