Feuilletage, Frangipane and Kings

January 6th, 2015 | Posted by greg in Recipes

What started as a simple and rather dry bread covered in beans many centuries ago has evolved into a remarkable version of the King’s Tart, or how we call it in French, La Galette des Rois. The tradition back home is declined in two versions. The brioche type of bread in which is also hidden a little figurine instead of the historical dry bean and sparkled with sliced almonds and the other version made of puff pastry filled with frangipane.

Today I’ve used pure butter puff pastry, filled it with the Frangipane recipe I am sharing here with you, baked it and caramelized it. It’s the most simple way to do it, yet, very few places are still doing it as such, and I have yet to discover a place doing it like that in Hong Kong, especially the crunchy caramelized part which is very challenging in Hong Kong humidity. Also, we don’t want to end up with a dry tart, thus the baking time and the temperature are crucial to its success.


I won’t elaborate on the puff pastry here as this is a science on its own that requires a whole course, but I am sharing with you my frangipane filling recipe. Simple and easy, just like my Grand-Mother used to do. For the recipe you will need:

  • 110 g butter at room temperature
  • 100 g white sugar
  • 130 g fresh eggs
  • 135 g ground almonds (if possible toasted)
  • 20 ml dark rum
  • The zest of half a lemon
  • A good pinch of salt

Mix creamy the butter and sugar until there are no more lumps of butter. Then add the eggs, salt, lemon and rum and mix. Finally, add the almond powder and mix for a few minutes it for a while until it forms a smooth batter. I like to rest my dough overnight in the fridge.


Roll your puff pastry and let it rest for 30 minutes. Cut the discs of puff pastry and let it rest for 30 minutes. Egg wash the rim of the base disc and pipe the frangipane mix on it in a layer of about 1 to 2 cm thick, leaving a good 3cm rim on the base in order to stick the top part. Place a little figurine in the frangipane that will be the much coveted prize of the day! The top part needs to be well pressed on the base rim (or the frangipane will go out at baking), egg wash the top and then let it rest some more. You want to cover to be a bit dry so you can draw the design of your choice. Once done, let it rest for an hour. Having it rest in the fridge makes it easier to cut the design and it makes it more sharp. By now, I think you’ve understood the concept of letting it rest very well to have a good shape and an even development at baking.


Then you bake it at 200C for about 25 minutes (for a 20cm tart), it should be just golden brown. Take it out of the oven and prepare your oven at 260C. Dust a thin layer of icing sugar on the top of the galette and put it in the very hot oven, if possible with a short trigger of steam to help the sugar melt nicely. Stay next to the oven during those 4 minutes and monitor the situation every minute, watch it as it burns in seconds.

Once baked, allow cooling a little, slice it and serve it with a golden paper crown ready to be bestowed on whoever will find the little figurine (be careful of your teeth!) to be king for the day!

Happy King’s Day! :)


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6 Responses

  • That looks so yummy! and I can just imagine how lovely it smells, too! I am challenging myself to make a gluten-free puff pastry so that I can make this! ;-) Will let you know how I go.

  • Angie_L says:

    Hey Chef, actually I’ve tried a similar recipe for King’s Bread in your book “La Boulangerie” b4. I used store-bought almond paste instead of ground almond and the bread tasted good. Scoring pattern on the surface of the bread was the most challenging part for me and also the pattern became blurry after baking.
    “Having it rest in the fridge makes it easier to cut the design and it makes it more sharp.”………..Thanks for your helpful hint today, Chef!

    • greg says:

      Hello Angie, yes, I also add some almond paste to my frangipane from time to time as it reinforce the almond flavor thanks to the bitter almond present in the paste. Scoring pattern is like writing, once learned it will never be forgotten :) Happy baking Angie!

      • Henry Chow says:

        It’s fortunate that we have easy access to bitter almonds at Chinese medicine shops in Hong Kong. I usually grind my own almonds with a quarter bitter almonds and it makes such a difference!

        • greg says:

          Very much agree Henry! We are very lucky in Hong Kong for bitter almonds :)
          I also add some of it in many almond based recipe, it really reinforce the almond flavor nicely!

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