Galette des Rois à la Frangipane (gluten-free)

I’m sure you have no idea what the heck is up with that title, right? What does it all mean, all those foreign words?

A galette des rois (pronounced gah-let day rwa) is a flaky cake with filling that you eat on the 12th night after Christmas. The Epiphany. It honors the magi kings (rois) who came to pay homage to Jesus. And this celebration is a big deal in France. I’ll tell you more about the tradition on Thursday for my French post. Today we’re actually going to make it.

But first I need to tell you about Julie C Gardner, who wrote a review of my book here. It’s hard for me to express how much I love Julie. If you know her, you love her too. She doesn’t blog as much as she used to because she’s a full-time writer (of books), but every time a new post pops up, I always rush right over to read it because her posts are always funny and clever and beautifully written. In fact, even her comments on people’s blog posts are like that!

I’m including another one of Julie’s posts that is so brilliant I would even encourage you to read it instead of her review of my book if it weren’t for the fact that you have a chance at winning a copy by leaving a comment on the review. You may just have to read both. Her post manages to encompass humour, personal tragedy (a massive house fire), social divisions and Dickens all in one short essay – and she does it seamlessly. It’s called A Tale of Two Sirens.

But the thing that’s special about Julie is that she patiently read the first draft of my book that was so rough it wasn’t even a “book” at all. It was just a sequence of events. And she still encouraged me! She told me it was good, and encouraged me to do something I would never have thought possible – to polish the manuscript and put my words out there. For that reason, she will always hold a special place in my heart.

In honour of Julie, let’s make cake!

Pre-heat the oven to 175°C (350°F). My oven is hot, but if yours is not, you can increase it to 200°C (375°F). You need two pâte feuilletée, pre-made if you want to save time. This is a flaky pie crust that is similar to filo pastry. I made mine gluten-free (and therefore less flaky) by using a GF flour mix for 2 of the cups, then a half cup of tapioca powder, a half cup of confectioner sugar, a cup of water and an egg white. (Edited to say I forgot to mention the butter – 125 grams, or just over a half cup). You’ll need the egg yolk at the end.


Blend it up and it looks like this.


I rolled out half with plenty of tapioca flour to keep it from sticking


and transferred it over, not really minding if I had to patch it back together.


I knew I’d be covering it up with the the frangipane filling. However I put the rest of the crust in the refrigerator to get it to harden so that when I rolled that out, it would transfer smoothly.

Frangipane (pronounced frawn-gee-pahn) is a mixture of pastry cream and almond cream. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. We’re going to make both.

Okay, so for the pastry cream, take a cup of whole milk and heat it up with 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder. I was able to buy the powder so I didn’t have to cut the bean. But you can substitute a teaspoon of vanilla if you don’t have it.


Whisk 3 egg yolks, 2 1/2 tablespoons of corn starch and a third cup of sugar.


When the milk is hot, pour it in slowly while you whisk it all together.


Put it back on the stove and whisk it continually until the mixture starts to thicken. It doesn’t take long.


When that’s ready, mix in 25 g butter (2T). Your pastry cream is done.

Pour that into the crust. I feel like I should excuse the tiny lumps you see in the cream. I didn’t stir continuously as I was supposed to while it was heating up because I was looking for my almond powder and realising I didn’t have enough. Don’t make that mistake. Stir constantly while it’s cooking.


Now for the almond cream. I got my recipe for that here.

You need a rounded cup and a half of ground almonds, but I only had a cup so I used that and it seemed to work. Add in a half cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 75 g softened butter (6T). Mix it all together.


Then pour that on the pastry cream.


It doesn’t really look all that different from the pastry cream actually.

Now, this is where you put the fève. I forgot to put it in. I’ll get to that in a minute. Otherwise, roll out the rest of the dough, fold it over, and use two spatulas to carry it over and place it on top of the filling.


Squeeze the crust together so the filling stays inside.


Then you can take a sharp knife and make a little design on top. Even a criss-cross will do. This helps me to hide the wrinkles, which are not supposed to be on top (but don’t worry – they will also even out in the cooking).


Okay. Now about the fève. That actually means “bean” and they are little porcelain figurines you hide inside the cake. Here are two examples.


Normally you hide it before you put the top layer of crust, but since I forgot, I’m going to slip it in. Like so.

galette17Pat that little crust opening back together and brush on your egg yolk. (If you haven’t already). And see? You can’t tell at all that something was slipped in at the last minute.

galette18Into the oven it goes for a half-hour.

Now that is one beautiful King’s Cake, if I do say so myself.


I don’t know how prevalent this Catholic tradition is outside of Europe (and whether or not you’re familiar with it), but the person who gets the fève is king for the day. The galette des rois in France are sold with little paper crowns for that purpose.


And here is our perfect gluten-free almond paste King’s Cake. It’s too filling to eat as a dessert, so it should be served for afternoon tea (or coffee). It’s traditionally served in France with cider – a sparkling alcoholic apple cider from Normandy/Brittany. We don’t drink alcohol, so we stick with tea.

The French will eat it every Sunday afternoon in January, and you don’t even have to be Catholic to enjoy it!

galette21How about you? Would you like to be king for the day?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Galette des Rois à la Frangipane (gluten-free)
A cake to be eaten on the Epiphany.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
  • Crust:
  • 2 cups (gluten-free) flour mix
  • 125 g butter, or just over ½ cup
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup confectioner sugar
  • 1 teaspoon large grain sea salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg white (save the yolk)
  • Pastry Cream:
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ vanilla bean powder (or 1t vanilla extract)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2½ T corn starch
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 25 g butter (2 T)
  • Almond Cream:
  • 140g almond powder (1.5 cups rounded)
  • 100 g sugar - ½ cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 grams softened butter (6T)
  • a fève
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (200°C)
  2. Make the dough by blending all the ingredients in the cuisinart.
  3. Cover your pan with wax paper (or roll half the dough on the wax paper and transfer it over. Probably the smarter move).
  4. Roll half the dough and place it in the pan. Refrigerate the rest.
  5. For the pastry cream, heat the milk and vanilla.
  6. Stir the corn starch, egg yolk and sugar.
  7. Mix the hot milk in slowly, then transfer back to stove.
  8. Heat the cream until it thickens, stir without cease.
  9. Mix in the butter and it's ready. Pour that on pie crust.
  10. For the almond cream, mix all the ingredients together, and then pour that on top of the pastry cream.
  11. Place the fève somewhere on the cake.
  12. Roll out the remaining dough and cover the filling. Pinch the ends.
  13. Cut a design into the top and brush with egg yolk.
  14. Cook for a half hour, turning once if needed to avoid burning one side.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Desserts, Food
26 comments on “Galette des Rois à la Frangipane (gluten-free)
  1. This looks wonderful and I love the surprises!
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted…Back In The SaddleMy Profile

  2. Alison says:

    My husband would love this – he’s a big fan of frangipane!
    The little surprises are AWESOME.
    And? I love Julie too.
    Alison recently posted…What’s In It For Me?My Profile

  3. Epiphany is a big deal in Germany as well (but without the pie), but not in Canada.
    Also: Julie is awesome and I loved her review of your book!
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted…The Mind of a FreelancerMy Profile

  4. Oh my, Jennie!

    As someone who spends her days working on finding JUST the right words to convey feelings, I have only this to say:

    You make me very happy.

    julie gardner recently posted…A Lady in FranceMy Profile

  5. Oh, my gosh! That looks amazing, Jennie! And I can’t wait to read Julie’s review of your book :)
    Jessica Smock recently posted…Can We Ever Let Go of Our Childhoods? A Review of “Mother Daughter Me”My Profile

  6. Jennifer says:

    This looks yummy. It is VERY different from the King Cakes that are sold here for Mardi Gras, which have a baby in them.
    Jennifer recently posted…PotentialMy Profile

    • ladyjennie says:

      That’s what I keep seeing. In the 19th century, the French started putting a porcelain baby Jesus, which is probably where the tradition started.

  7. Galit Breen says:

    I love Julie and cake so I’m all in for this post!

    (Your photography is looking go-od, sister! Love!)
    Galit Breen recently posted…I am. Home.My Profile

  8. Elaine A. says:

    You know, here in Louisiana we eat “King Cake” from January until Mardi Gras. And there’s usually a “baby” king (that’s plastic) inside the “cake” which is an oblong ring shape. Also, it’s usually covered in purple, green and gold icing. Inside there is any kind of filling from raspberry to Bavarian cream.

    Honestly, yours looks better. YUM!
    Elaine A. recently posted…In Line at Target…My Profile

  9. Alexa says:

    Oh girl, I have always loved the Gallette-des-rois and I am SO glad you made it gluten free! I have pinned it, and one day, maybe next Christmas, I’ll actually get around to making this. I know my kids would love trying to find the surprises!
    Alexa recently posted…Lying Cold and on the FloorMy Profile

  10. Alexa says:

    oh and PS, thanks for the referral of another great writer. I’m on my way to see Julie’s page now!
    Alexa recently posted…Lying Cold and on the FloorMy Profile

  11. Greta says:

    Greta recently posted…The Magic of RunDisney #iPPPMy Profile

  12. Poppy says:

    This recipe is weakening my resolve to have no sugar. I’m going to pin it for a special occasion. It looks fabulous.
    Poppy recently posted…Falling Face First off the Weight Loss WagonMy Profile

  13. A GF version! I don’t think I will make it LOL but I love that you have a version. Maybe next year I will make it. We are living out in Brittany and so far we have had three gallete’s this year. It is time for more I know. :)
    Tsoniki Crazy Bull recently posted…Four Things to Know Before Moving To FranceMy Profile

  14. ladyjennie says:

    Plastic babies sounds a lot less desirable than little porcelaine figurines. But I’ll bet the King’s Cake tastes good.

  15. Andrea says:

    This looks delicious and I love how you make mistakes and add things in after the fact. It’s because that’s what I do all the time. Oopsies!
    Andrea recently posted…As ChargedMy Profile

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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