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Celebrate Epiphany with French-Style King Cakes

Two chances for a very special treat.

I know the New Orleans-style king cake is legion this time of year, a ring of risen brioche dough exuberantly tinted in the colors of Mardi Gras. But in France, we celebrate Epiphany with a flat pastry shaped like a tart, its round double layers of puff pastry filled with frangipane. Named “galette des rois” (kings’ cake), they become the centerpiece of social gatherings in January, with their flaky, buttery, almond-hinted delicacy.

It’s so hard to find them in Dallas that there were a few years when my Dad would send them from our home in Paris via mail. They arrived with two edges cut off, where he had adjusted them to fit into the shipping box; but they were galette des rois nonetheless, straight from a Parisian bakery, and I heated them in the oven and served them to friends.

This year, a pastry-trained friend of mine made one for me. Meanwhile, I learned of two chances for francophiles to try the pastry this month in Dallas.

First: a cooking class, co-sponsored by the Alliance Francaise (no surprise!) this Thursday (January 17), in which you can make the galette yourself, under the guidance of Isabel Mota, a French expat who launched the business My French Recipe a few years ago. (I love the mixes she’s developed for making real, French-tasting butter cake and chocolate cake.) Cost is $69 for non-members. It takes place from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Perfect Temper Kitchen in Plano.

Second: a soiree put on this Sunday (January 20) by the Alliance Francaise at their headquarters. The ticket price includes a serving of galette and glass of cider. Cost is $20 for non-members; $5 for kids. It runs from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. RSVP as space is limited.

Details and ticket purchasing here and here. I consider this the year of the galette des rois!

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