The ‘Galettes des Rois’ 2022: Epiphany cakes in Paris

Celebrated on 6 January the Epiphany is the unmissable gourmet gathering of the month of January

Traditional, daring, original … Each year, the Galette des Rois (literally ‘cake of the kings’) an Epiphany cake is reinvented by Parisian bakers and pâtissiers. While the classic version consists of two layers of puff pastry generously filled with an almond frangipane cream, it also comes in an infinite variety of flavours, types of pastry, and fillings. So, what do they all have in common? The fève (a bean or sometimes a porcelain figurine) of course! Here is a snapshot of some of the delectable creations that will be tempting Parisians in 2021.

Classic

Bakeries Stohrer, Hugo & Victor, the Boulanger de la Tour, Benoît Castel and Thierry Marx have opted for a frangipane Epiphany cake in which technique and the pure simplicity of taste are perfectly mastered. Pastry maker Philippe Conticini has chosen a traditional recipe but with a difference: he celebrates women with a ‘Galette des Reines’ (a Queens’ Epiphany cake rather than a Kings’) designed in partnership with the media outlet Les Éclaireuses. This cake with delightful Mediterranean flavours is filled with the traditional frangipane as well as Amlou, a delicious Berber spread.

Surprising

 

As for Pierre Hermé, he has created a brioche des rois with pistachio praline and 4 different Epiphany cakes: ‘Enora’ with buckwheat puff pastry, ‘Jardin de l’Atlas’ with orange blossom, honey and lemon flavours, the traditional ‘Infiniment amande’ and a flaky brioche with pistachio praline. Aveyron-born chef Cyril Lignac also presents a brioche with orange blossom, topped with sugar, pistachios and caramelized hazelnuts.

Ladurée too has a signature brioche, a delicious combination of candied fruit (oranges, grapefruit and black grapes) with an almond and bitter orange core. The Maison du Chocolat’s original gourmet cake is a chocolate work of art. Jean-Paul Hévin’s ‘Il était un petit navire’ cake will delight children and adults alike with its chocolate boat and mouth-watering taste of puff pastry with vanilla butter and dark chocolate; almond cream studded with chocolate chips made from Grand Cru cocoa from Mexico, and lime cream. Maison Lenôtre offers three additional versions, one traditional, one with almonds and caramelized hazelnuts, and a Tarte Tropézienne style cake combining two delicious flavours, tangerine and calisson almond candy. Scrumptious!

Tea lovers will be delighted by the shiny black Epiphany cake from tea house Mariage Frères, a melt-in-the-mouth frangipane, blueberry and blackcurrant combination.

Oriental addresses Babka Zana, Maison Aleph and Maison Gazelle mix genres with a Babka of Kings with honey, Epiphany cakes with flavours from the Levant or in the style of gazelle horns. For more surprises, you will also want to check out the iced versions from Fabrique Givrée or La Glacerie.

However, the most original is perhaps the charcuterie Epiphany cake from up-market Maison Vérot which offers a savoury version with pork and foie gras ...

Ultra- luxurious

This year, the chef Cédric Grolet has joined forces with his patisserie chef François Deshayes to concoct a soft and fluffy brioche with crunchy pecan pralines for the palace hotel Le Meurice.

Other palace hotels have their own versions of the Epiphany cake. The Shangri-La presents a buckwheat seed and gold rum cake crafted by its patisserie chef Maxence Barbot. François Perret, at his Petit Comptoir du Ritz, offers a version with inverted puff pastry and almond macaronade cream.

At the George V, Michael Bartocetti has had fun merging brioche and galette for an airy result that should regale all sweet-toothed foodies: a flaky Vienna bread filled with Chinese cinnamon-flavoured frangipane with a hint of gingerbread. Nicolas Guercio at the Lutetia presents his ‘112 nuances of coconut’. Matthieu Carlin at the Hôtel de Crillon offers a traditional Epiphany cake with a pretty snowflake design on top.

The head pâtissier at Hôtels Evok has also opted for a star shape for the Brach’s unusual cake with almond and sesame cream subtly fragranced with orange blossom, decorated with dates and soft figs and honey-glazed dried fruit. Irresistible!

One thing is sure, there is something for all tastes and all budgets!