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Food / Wine

The UK crowned King of Health and Safety, even when it comes to the "galette des rois"!

By Adrienne Benassy


« Who is this piece for? For daddy… And this one? For aunty Bridget… And what about that one? For my sister… »

On the second Sunday after Christmas, in thousands of French homes, the youngest of the family crawled down the table and blindly distributed to all the members of his family the slices of a puff pastry cake filled most commonly with almond paste (frangipane) known as a galette des rois.

Once everyone is served, it is a race to find, in the frangipane stuffing, a tiny figure called “fève” in French. The owner of this sought-after porcelain statuette then earns the right to be king or queen for the day, wears a golden cardboard crown, and most of all, each time he or she drinks, the others shout  « The king drinks, the king drinks! ».

But sometimes, trying to discover who will be king or queen can turn out to be a disaster! Voracious children, far too excited by the whole event, bite too enthusiastically into their slices… “Ouch!” Suddenly, they break one of their teeth… The king or queen is edentulous now... 

Whose fault is it? Impatience maybe? How could they know it could be so big? How would they know it’s as hard as a rock?

Suppose a lambda English lover of French gastronomy sees through a patisserie window the famous galette des rois, buys it, and discovers the existence of the “fève” when biting into a piece of galette to take a mouthful. Should the baker be blamed for destroying his smile?

The English, who are always very aware of “Health and Safety” issues are keen to avoid any potential law suit and they have found the perfect solution: bakers now supply the fève separately from the galette. The customer then has to insert the fève inside the galette before it is sliced. If it ruins the surprise for at least one person (someone has to know where the fève is!), at least no one will blame the baker for these hazardous turnouts.


Want to know more about the origins of the Galette? Check out our previous article :



Want to make the galette yourself? Check out our recipe:

(from the Grand Livre de Recettes, 700 idées pour chaque jour. Ed OPEASI)

Ingredients for 6 persons:

For the Galette:

500 g of puff pastry

pinch of salt

12-15cl water

350g-melted butter then cooled in the fridge

1 egg yolk


For the cream: 

Crème fraîche

60gr almond powder

1 tablespoon of kirsch

60 gr caster sugar

60 gr de butter

1 egg


Mix the sugar with the almond and the egg, add the melted butter and the kirsch
If the cream becomes too thick, add a little Crème fraîche.
Roll the puff pastry and make two identical circles
Spread the cream on the first disk, place the charm.
Cover with the second disk and seal the edges.
Spread a mixture of egg yolk and water on the top with a brush, being very careful with NOT spreading any of it on the edges.
Make some little cuts on the edges to allow the pastry to rise, and make few holes on the top of the disk to allow the steam to get out.

 Pre-heat the oven at 230 C.
Brush again with egg yolk and little water
Cook in warm oven for 35 to 40 minutes (you can start with the oven at 220/230 C    for 15 mn then with oven at 200 C for 20mn.
Add icing sugar 5mn before the end of cooking time or with little syrup.
Let the galette to cool down a little before serving.


14/01/2013 - s.pollock-hill said :

Vive les rosbifs!


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