Epiphany is a Christian festival that takes place on January 6. In Christianity, this festival refers to the arrival of the Magi to the divine child, Jesus. The Three Wise Men (Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) take their places in the cribs on January 6 and remain there until Candlemas (February 2).
Everywhere in France, January 6 also announces the launching of the Galette des Rois (the King’s Cake). In Provence, we foremost share the King’s Cake (or Kings’ Crown), a round brioche with a hole in its centre, flavoured with orange blossom and decorated with candied fruit and large grains of sugar. Inside, we add a real bean and a small ceramic nativity figurine, called a santon.
Before cutting the Kings’ Cake, know that a few rules apply: traditionally, the youngest person present sits under the table and takes the responsibility to blindly distribute each piece of cake. And it is up to the person who finds the bean in their piece to bring the next cake. A way to make greediness last ? Anyhow, this tradition continues right through to Candlemas on February 2. And at Candlemas, it is the pancakes that are in the spotlight !
Here’s the recipe, enjoy !
Example of a King’s Cake recipe (for about 6 people) :
Beforehand, mix the yeast and the orange blossom in a bowl. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well: add the mixture previously made. Add the eggs, the sugar, the pinch of salt and the zest of the chosen citrus fruit. Mix everything together until you have a slightly sticky dough. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 4 hours. Once the dough has risen, degas it until it is soft. Place it in a savarin mould, cover it and leave it to rise for another 2 hours. Don’t forget to put in the bean and the santon. Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the dough with a beaten egg. Place in the oven for 30 minutes (keep an eye on the baking). Remove the brioche from the oven and brush it with apricot jam, sprinkle with granulated sugar and decorate with candied fruit.
A little tip for gourmets: before baking, you can add small pieces of candied fruit from our local confectioner Lilamand to the pastry !