Galette des Rois, the 2007 Edition

Galette des Rois Arnaud Larher

Looking for a recipe for galette des rois? See this post.

And this year’s galette des rois (read more about the galette des rois tradition) was brought to us by Arnaud Larher, a thirty-something pastry chef and chocolatier who opened his own shop in Montmartre ten years ago, after honing his skills at Fauchon under Pierre Hermé’s direction.

I called the day before to order une galette pour six — ordering is not mandatory for such a standard size, but I sleep better if I do — and went to collect it in mid-afternoon. As I walked home and dropped by a handful of other shops for my dinner-making needs, the paper bag bearing the pastry chef’s coat of arms elicited much commentary from these neighboring vendors, whose facial expression (corners of the mouth pulled down, chin jutted forward, eyes semi-closed, head nodding slowly) indicated their respect for the artisan, and their approval of my choice of purveyor. I hurried home for the wind was picking up, and the threat of rain was a dark omen for my fragile disk in its not-even-remotely-waterproof paper house.

Although Arnaud Larher makes a chocolate galette that can’t possibly be anything but very good, my dinner companions and I all prefer the classic version. In Larher’s case, classic means a moist mattress of frangipane* lightly flavored with orange zest — a subtle and tasteful twist — between two sheets of extra-fresh flaked pastry. The ensemble was neither overly buttery nor overly sweet, and was much enjoyed by all.

I will note that this year was the first in many many years that: 1- We did not reheat the galette before eating (we’d read an article that said the reheating instruction was a ploy devised by sellers of inferior galettes to exalt what measly aromas they contained) and liked that change of method; 2- My mother got the fève! She never gets the fève! We couldn’t get her to wear the crown for more than twenty-three seconds and a half, although it was quite attractive a crown and it looked royal on her, but she did keep the heart-shaped glass pendant that acted as the bean.

* Frangipane is a mix of almond cream (almonds, sugar, butter, eggs) made fluffy by the addition of pastry cream (milk, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, flour). The ratio of almond cream to pastry cream (classically: two parts almond cream for one part pastry cream) determines how rich and flavorful the frangipane will be. And because almonds are a pricy ingredient, cheap-o galette makers tend to use more pastry cream than they really should and compensate with almond extract, which results in a heavy filling with an artificial, in-your-face flavor. Tempting, no?

Arnaud Larher / Map it!
53 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris
01 42 57 68 08
M° Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Note: If you do pay him a visit, I also recommend his chocolate tartlets, his filled tablets of chocolate (especially the ones with cacao nibs), his sweet and savory mix of nuts, and his ice creams (in season).

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  • http://www.maminaclaude.canalblog.com/ mamina

    Belle édition…

  • http://www.cocoandme.com Tamami

    Galette des Rois… what a fabulous tradtion you have in France. I’m yet to taste one & see what a fève looks like.. But how do you make sure you’re not cutting in to the fève when slicing the cake up? Or indeed not crack your teeth when you bite in to it? And what does it mean when a person gets a fève? I suppose it’s good luck for the year is it?

  • http://www.cforcooking.com Jeff

    The Frangipane sounds so delish!

  • http://www.lacerise.blogspot.com Astrid

    Thank you for the tip on this baker. I didn’t think I liked galette des rois until I ate some very good ones, and realized they can range from heavy, dry and/or greasy to light, moist rich and flavorful.
    Since I live in Switzerland, where 3 kings cakes are more of the bready variety, I had to make my own this year. It turned out a lot easier and more delightful than I expected, thanks to last year’s galette post on Frais!.

  • http://foodonthefood.typepad.com Tammy

    I LOVE almond-flavored things. Especially, almond-flavored things wrapped in puff pastry. Actually, is that puff pastry or something else?

  • http://take3eggs.com Tim

    It looks and sounds delicious.

  • Rose

    Happy New Year, Clotilde!
    I must have missed this tradition the first time you wrote about it. Very interesting to read the link back and then today’s entry.
    The fava bean in the centre reminds me of the English tradition – inherited by we Australians – of putting coins in the Christmas pudding.
    Modern day currencies are made of materials that are toxic so they can’t be used in food. Silver coins were used — I can remember threepences, sixpences and shillings being used.
    In Australia, silver coins weren’t minted after 1966 so my mother (and many other cooks) hoarded silver coins for the express purpose of filling the Christmas pudding.
    Mum, like so many others, redeemed the silver coins from each happy eater by supplying the new money. This kept the hoard full.
    She has it yet at age 80.

  • http://www.jenniferduartedesign.com jenny

    We’d first encountered the galette de Rois at Boulangerie de Polk in San Francisco, and it got to be a favorite tradition… Sadly, we haven’t found quite so good since we moved to Los Angeles, but this year my husband bought me The American Boulangerie – the cookbook, which includes a recipe, thank goodness!

  • http://terreadelie.no-distance.net/etplus/carnet/ Adelie

    - sigh – . I’m not especially fond of galette des rois. Normally. Normally I find it, er, too ‘heavy’. But after reading you, and living less than 20 minutes from Arnaud Lahrer, I had to pay a visit to his shop 2 hours ago (yes, I *had to*). Oh my, I can’t say I regret it, all the samples of his work we tasted were an absolut delight, including the galette and a delicious little white thing called “Ivoire”. I think we’ll call him our Pierre Hermé next door : it may sounds exagerate, but the fact is he deserves the comparison.

  • http://www.californieenfrancais.blogspot.com Marilyn, la californienne

    Delightful, from purchase to consumption! My favorite part, though, was the wearing of the crown by your mother. Wouldn’t all the world be better off if everyone had a mother like that? I was blessed with that kind of fun in my life too — aren’t we lucky? Thx for the excellent info, as usual.

  • Joan

    oh Clotilde..how very very YOU..a glass heart feve! Have read of a tradition where the Queen/King drops the feve in the glass of the one she or he wishes to have as King/Queen…my husband scored the slice with the feve and wore his crown with joy…(he slipped the feve into my glass:-))

    also…that the galettes in the south can be of brioche…

    whatever..I find them absolutely delicious!

    raising my glass to traditions…and fun

  • http://www.blueVicar.com blueVicar

    I’m just happy to read of at least one item that Clothilde goes to the patisserie to buy! You are so gifted in the kitchen, it must be a relief to sometimes get to buy and to partake of the work of others.

    And your mother enjoyed her time with the crown? And she kept the fève? Does she have a collection? Just think of the stories they could tell…

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  • http://www.lindamathieu.com Linda Mathieu

    I’ve started a collection of the feves in brochates where ever I go.I usually get the religious ones to make a little creche at Christmas. A selection of them make a nice gift too.

  • kathie

    I love Galette, but I had it three days running this week. Bit much I think.
    In answer to one question of how can you make sure you don’t cut into the fève? I wish someone could give me the answer as I ALWAYS cut into the fève. It’s a good thing that we always hold to the tradition that the youngest person present has to go under the table to declare who each piece of the galette should go to. That way, at least if the fève is visible, there’s still no cheating. Great fun. It’s a good excuse to invite guests (if you need an excuse!)

  • http://passionfusion.canalblog.com Stephane

    Oulah, ça faisait longtemps que je n’avais rien commenté sur c&z il me semble… So let’s go for an English ride ;-) I tried a cheap homemade chocolate galette, but anyway the best thing in a galette des rois is clearly the frangipane (with nothing like pastry cream at all; only almonds, sugar, eggs, butter and Amaretto (yum yum) ;-) And for the temperature… I never reheat the thing, I prefer room tmp° or frozen frangipane (something to try maybe… ice cream… set after the pastry is cooked…

  • http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com ParisBreakfasts

    I’m finally weakening..I must try this and a new French pastry shop has opened nearby. I think they even sell slices…

  • http://kitchenchick.com Kitchen Chick

    Looks scrumptious! I have this vague memory of a children’s book that I think must have been translated from French about a girl who lived at a girl’s school or orphanage and I’m recalling one scene where they had a galette des rois with the bean hidden in it. But, alas, I can’t recall the title.

  • pete

    oh it does sound nice but the only problem with that recipe is the fact that it has puff pastry and boy dos that give me heartburn, oh well

  • Gemma

    Hi,

    I love a Galette and keep meaning to try making one as, obviously, they aren’t always readily available in Scotland! I hope it is ok that I have put a link to your blog on my new blog at http://dressingfordinner.blogspot.com

    Gemma x

  • http://afoodiefroggy.canalblog.com/ FoodieFroggy

    J’en suis à ma huitième galette depuis le début de l’année et je ne m’en lasse pas…

  • http://www.carablack.com Cara

    Thank you so much, Clotilde. I’ll pass this on to my friend who lives a few blocks away near Guy Moquet metro.
    My Parisian neighbor up the street made a gallete…delicious but she did cheat and bought a Dupont (is that right name?) frozen dough for the crust…made in France chock full of butter. Still yum

  • http://weingolb.blogspot.com Marcus

    You bring up two issues that we dealt with during our adventures with a new galette maker (which is Montreal’s fabulous Le Fromentier on rue Laurier ouest):

    One: galette pour six. This bakery has been preparing the galette in three sizes — the first place in the city that I have seen do this. Individual portions were sold out when I was in store, but the mid-sized galette is perfect for three or four and hard to come by.

    Two: galette au chocolat. I don’t know about your Lahrer galette, but this was our first chocolate galette des rois and it was a visual beauty that didn’t perceptibly change the flavour. Just enough cocoa to give the frangipane a purplish tint. The most delicious thing ever.

  • husky

    wow thats look just fantastic! I bet that taste also delicious!

  • In Italy

    Grazie mille Clotilde,

    What agony to have to wait until mid September to visit Arnaud Lahrer’s bakery :( We may have to take a day away from either Barcelona or Provence and add it to Paris!

  • Debby

    Despite many trips to France and eating many traditional and non foods, I’d never tried galette des rois, so I went straight to Payard in New York City [74th and Lexington Ave], bought a small one [no slices available] and my piece had the feve. Looks sort of like an ancient Egyptian maiden so does anyone know why that would be? Galette was wonderful!

  • Sarah B

    Hello, Clotilde,

    I just discovered your blog while searching online for a recipe for a galette des rois. I was in Paris last week (I’m from Southern California) and I noticed them everywhere but, alas, I didn’t try one. What a mistake! They look wonderful. In any case, I’m happy to have found your blog. You seem to be a woman after my own heart!

  • Crystal C

    This looks so good! This site is awsome! I’ve been cooking since I was 15. I’m more of a old fashion cook. I like to prepare homemade soups, stews. I grew up on a sheep farm so I love lamb.

  • http://www.mymelange.net robin

    Clotilde-

    I am new to your blog, and new to my own blog. I just love yours. Congratulations on all of your success, you are an insipration to me…good things can happen! Your recipe has forced me to now choose which galette to make, as my friend Anne from FoodieFroggy just posted one too! Yikes..that’s a sticky situation…Oh well, I guess I must make both!

  • TJ

    My very first with to Paris this past November in Montmartre which I have to say is the most delightful neighborhood. I felt instantly at home and look forward to getting to know all the nooks and crannies of Montmartre.

    Arnaud Lahrer shop is just the sort of place I’m look forward to visiting on my next stay in Paris. Galette des rois is a favorite of mines. I attempted it once even made my own puff pastry and though the galette was misshapen it was the best thing I have ever tasted(sorry to toot my on horn I haven’t been cooking for very long). I am keen to taste a professional like Arnaud Lahrer to see if I am on the right track.

    Until I can get to Paris again I guess I will have to suffer with my meager creation.

    My first visit to your site has been really great. Thank you.

    TJx

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