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A Cake Good Enough for a King!


image: businesstoday.in

Happy New Year to you and yours, P'Nichers! Hoping that you had fun and restful holidays...


While not an "official" holiday or day of closures, Epiphany is widely celebrated in Paris and France as a whole each January 6th - and of course, it comes with its own special dessert!


image: catholicdigest.com

Wait, what is Epiphany? Glad you asked!


Coming at the tail end of the 12 days of Christmas, this is the (figurative) date that the three wise men (also called magi, or kings) came to visit the baby Jesus, bearing gifts in honor of his miraculous birth.


What's this you say? Kings schlepping through the dessert and ... giving gifts?! Who and what in the world was going on in ye olde biblical times?


image: express.co.uk

Picture it: Bethlehem - Year of Christ's birth...


The three aforementioned wise men, asked where they can go to pay homage to The Good News - the newborn King of the Jews.


Enter King Herod (boo, hiss) who was in great fear of losing his royal power and standing...


image: renner.org

Herod told the three wise men to go in search of the newborn so that, he too could pay homage.

Spoiler Alert - Herod did not plan to pay honor to the child, rather to murder the newborn babe to maintain his power over the people, but his plan was very "hush hush." Not knowing of Herod's planned treachery, the three magi set off - no GPS, nothing! Just instincts and a plan. (Instinct will be important, stick with me...)



image: space.com

Now, these wise men, gifts in hand (well, sack) found their way to the manger by following what we now call "The Star of Bethlehem."


Lots of theories exist about the star, but just know, these fellas were able to navigate themselves to the manger for their prime biblical delivery.



image: historytoday.com

These three kings: Melchior (from Europe), Gaspard (from Asia) and Balthazar (from Africa) offered the three luxe gifts of:


- Gold - the most precious material in God's eyes

- Frankincense - an oil used by priests when "conversing" with God

- Myrrh - an oil used for entombment - a foreshadowing to the future and ultimate sacrifice


image: ncregister.com

As "the party" wound down, and with gifts delivered, the wise men were meant to get word back to Herod and tell him where to find the baby.


Fast forward to the magi having a dream that foretold them of the dangers, so they detoured discreetly outta town and never reported back to Herod, presumably saving the life of the Christ Child. Always, trust your instincts, P'Nichers!



image: juliarecipes.com

In the words of P'Niche's favorite Francophile-American chef, Julia Child, "A party without cake is just a meeting."


And P'Niche did say there'd be cake, so let's dive in!


So, after all that - what exactly is the Epiphany cake or galette des rois (king's cake?)



image: fiaf.org

Quite simply, it's a delicious cake which consists of two circles of flaky puff pastry.


Between the two disks is a scrumptious frangipani (almond cream) filling. Miam...


But wait... there's myrrh!

Groan, sorry, P'Niche had to do it...



image: dreamstime.com

Each galette / cake is baked with a charm (called la fêve) hidden inside.


Game Show Announcer Voice:

It's time to play...Tirer. Les. Rois!


On January 6th, Epiphany, we learn who gets to be "King for the Day" by whomever receives the charm when they get their slice of galette...

Wait, there are rules to King Cake Club...



image: frenchtoday.com

First, the youngest person present (typically a child) must hide themselves under the table...


Second, the cake must be sliced - one slice for each person at the table. You might also cut an extra slice, should a stranger or less than fortunate person arrive to your table. This spare portion is fittingly called the Portion of God (“la part du bon Dieu”).


'Tis still the season for giving, after all!


image: terribakes.com

Now, as each slice is cut, the child under the table calls out the name of the person who receives that particular slice.


This is a "no favorites" way to serve the galette, ensuring a royally fair fare...


And of course, whoever finds the charm when (carefully) eating their galette is deliciously crowned "King for the Day!"



image: parismatch.com

Lucky enough to be celebrating Epiphany in Paris? Most boulangeries / patisseries will carry galette des rois, but P'Niche's (non-sponsored) faves are:


Stohrer:

51, rue Montorgueil, 75002

Métro: Étienne Marcel


Mariage Frères

30-32 et 35 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 75004

Métro: Hôtel de Ville


P'Niche PSA: when purchasing your galette, make sure you leave with the paper crown, which is offered with each purchase, so you can properly crown your King for the Day!


image: juliarecipes.com

Looking to get your bake on at home? Bravo!


This recipe from Julia Recipes is the closest I have found to the Parisian ones I have had the luck to enjoy (and the one with the clearest instructions for this non-professional baker.)


P'Niche simply used a whole almond as she didn't buy any charms - worked out fine - with a little (ok, a lot) of patience!


What do you think, P'Nichers? Are you ready to get your galette des rois (and hopeful crown) to celebrate Epiphany? How can you incorporate this fun moment into your end of the holiday season fêtes? Sound off in the comments below et à bientôt!


image: dreamstime.com
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