The galette des rois, or king’s galette, is amongst the most transient of seasonal pastries, and self-respecting pastry shops only start selling them a few days before epiphany (January 6th). One must bravely tackle long queues in order to buy those ones which all of Paris is talking about, but Cake Justice is not so easily deterred. Christophe Vasseur’s galette being one of those most acclaimed by connoisseurs, we went to find one in his poetically named bakery, Du Pain et des Idées. Let us verify methodically whether it is as scrumptious as it is rumored to be.
Christophe Vasseur’s almond cream-filled galette appears to be a classic version of the galette des rois: a galette made of flaky pastry, filled with almond cream. The conventional frangipani cream (which contains butter, sugar and eggs in addition to ground almonds) has however been replaced here with a Grand Marnier-infused almond cream, which is much richer in flavor.
This individual galette has a diameter of 106 mm and a height of 40 mm. The specimen we purchased weights 136 grams and costs 3.90 euros. Of course, it is also available in larger sizes. We appreciate the careful advice, diligently imparted by the bakery staff to each patrons, to keep the galette at room temperature, and not to commit the abomination of reheating it prior to eating it.
From the very first bite, a detail which might easily have gone unnoticed draws our attention: the transparent icing on the surface of the galette does not alter the taste of the flaky pastry. This icing serves only to give a shiny veneer to the surface, and we are pleasantly surprised to find we can barely feel its sweetness or the stickiness of its texture. This is surely not merely due to chance, and points to the care and precision with which this product is made. The butter-rich pastry has a glorious layered flakiness, and is uniformly baked across its entire thickness and on its whole top and bottom surface. Nowhere is it blackened or does it give off a burnt taste. The taste of almond in the filling is nicely pronounced, without becoming overpowering, and the Grand Marnier is likewise well dosed. The almond and alcohol taste linger on the palate in perfect harmony. It’s worth mentioning the generosity with which this galette is garnished, given that that the almond cream only stops 7mm away from the edge of the pastry, and is spread 18mm thick.
This almond cream galette by Christophe Vasseur is characterized by deep flavors, gentleness and balance, paired with a luxuriant flakiness. This, along with the clear mastery of baking times, visible in the pastry’s perfectly homogenous degree of cooking, truly wins us over. This is a model of the “classic” galette des rois at its most delectable, one which Cake Justice wholeheartedly recommends.
Score: 4/5 Excellent
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France