In France, this puff pastry with an almond or apple filling is the traditional dessert for Epiphany or Twelfth Night celebrated on January the 6th. Epiphany is said to be the day the three Kings were to have visited baby Jesus. For fun little charms, typically ceramic figurines of people or animals, are baked into the cake. The lucky person who receives the piece of cake with the hidden charm wins a crown and is king for the day or princess for the day in the case of my three girls. They have no interest in being a Queen when they can be a princess! It is a great deal of fun for children and adults alike.Angel Girl was very disappointed last year when Papa choose the piece with the charm inside. So, this year she came up with a master plan to wait until he choose his piece of cake and then steal his. As I was cutting the cake, I noticed the charm peaking out of the edge of one of the pieces. So, just as she was unraveling her secret plan and began to fight for her Papa’s piece of cake, I asked her if she was sure Papa was so lucky. Or maybe, she wouldn’t like the nice piece that was left on the table?
She had actually eyed this piece first contemplating whether or not to just go on her own luck and not her Papa’s. Due to last years experience and the fact that my husband does seem to be a person that has more than his share of luck, she caved and decided to stick to her original plan of stealing her lucky Papa’s piece. With my little hint she stopped tugging at her Papa’s plate and picked up her original choice. She stabbed her fork into the piece and hit gold! She found the charm and happily danced around with the overwhelming glee of a 10 year old! It was very funny indeed. Well, everyone thought so except Sweet Bear. Who wanted to win the crown and be a princess, too. She had found a charm in the piece of cake that we had bought two weeks earlier. Yes, I will confess that we did cheat by starting early…so, did most of France I suspect from the number of people placing cake into their carts at Auchan. Sweet Bear was easily pacified by being allowed to carry around her charm and pretend to be the princess, too. Petite Clown does not have a charm from a cake, but I gave her a pig carved out of wood that I brought from America. She was pleased to have the biggest “charm” not caring where it came from. For one day, our apartment became a castle where three beautiful princesses danced and sang while wearing not crowns made of paper. These princesses wore crowns of gold with precious jewels fastened on the front.
It would be nice if the tradition of Galette des Rois would find it’s way over seas and American chidren could share in the fun! I am very happy to share this tradition with my own children here in France.