Epiphany cake

Credit: Mathilde de l'Ecotais
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Ingredients (10 people)

Preparing the puff pastry

  • Basic Dough
  • 8 1/4 ounces cake flour (230 g)
  • 1 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (50 g)
  • 3 teaspoons salt (12 g)
  • 9 1/2 tablespoons water (14 cl)
  • Butter For Folding
  • 14 ounces farm-fresh butter (400 g)
  • 4 1/4 ounces cake flour (120 g)

Assembly and garnish


For Epiphany, different types of pastries are made in different regions of Europe. In Northern France, a round puff galette is made, which resembles a variation of the traditional pithiviers, generally garnished with almond or frangipane cream. This galette appears to be of Wallonian origins. In the Mediterranean and Provence, a brioche with candied fruit is made, often shaped like a crown. The most important is for the different cakes to contain a fève or token, a small ceramic object which, when found in a slice, makes the finder into the king or queen of the day. Originally the object baked into the cake was a real, dried fava bean, or sometimes a gold coin, depending on the income of the participants. The custom seems to date back to the Roman Saturnalia, which took place near the beginning of January. For one week, masters and slaves became equals, and a temporary “king” was chosen at random with a fava bean.

Filling the galette with almond cream has become popular over the past thirty years. Before that, garnished galettes des Rois were rarer. The best way to accompany this cake is a glass of champagne or any good quality sparkling wine.

Step 1: Preparing the puff pastry

Preparation for puff pastry must begin 24 hours in advance.

Delicately mix the ingredients for the basic dough. The dough must be firm. Cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

To prepare the butter to be folded into the puff pastry dough, knead the flour with the butter cut into cubes. Shape into a square, protect in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Roll out the butter into a 6 × 16 inch (15 × 40 cm) rectangle.

Separately, roll out the dough to two-thirds the length of the butter with the same width. Place the dough on top of the rolled out butter and fold. Then roll out, fold and give a quarter turn to complete a single turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning process two more times to execute a double turn.

Refrigerate for 4 hours, then execute one more double turn. Finish with a simple turn.

Refrigerate for 1 hour, then cut the dough into loaves ready to be rolled out.

This recipe was originally published in "Alain Ducasse’s Desserts and Pastries" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits

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