Cover Find the fève and be king for the day (Photo: Finessence Patisserie)

In January, the classic French “King’s cake” is a must-have to celebrate Epiphany, but you don’t have to be religious to enjoy this puff pastry treat

We love a food tradition, and the period after Christmas is a time where some of Hong Kong’s best bakers will be working hard on producing their version of the galette des rois—a puff pastry number known as ‘the cake of kings’ in French, in reference to the Three Kings who visited the baby Jesus on the day known as Epiphany. A tradition of northern France (in the south, they have the gâteau des rois, a brioche version), the galette des rois is formed with circles of burnished puff pastry with a frangipane filling which, most crucially, hides the fève—a small trinket buried within the almond paste. In early days, the fève was but a humble dried bean, but contemporary versions are commonly made with porcelain and come in all manner of shapes; more importantly, the person whose portion of the galette contains the fève is crowned king (or queen) of the day—as such, a paper crown is included with the cake, most of the time.

See also: Where to Find the Best Bakeries in Hong Kong

The mark of a truly great galette des rois is in the shatter, which can only come from expertly baked puff pastry—so light and layered yet glossy and golden on top—and eating it is an appropriately messy affair by nature. In Hong Kong, humidity and warmth is the ultimate enemy of a great king’s cake, so be sure to purchase from the best and eat it on the same day you receive it. Below are a few of our favourites, selling this iconic cake fit for royalty.

1. Finessence Patisserie

Mandy Siu, formerly the pastry chef of L’Envol at St Regis, has something of a cult following—so much so that her brand new endeavour, Finessence Patisserie, has already sold out of galette des rois for the first week of January. Fortunately, the 20cm galette is available for delivery every Friday and Saturday for the month of January so DM them with your order in as soon as possible—Siu’s version uses top notch ingredients including fresh Grands Crus Tahitian vanilla beans from Alain Abel, Spanish almonds, hazelnuts and local Hong Kong honey. The inverted puff pastry is made over five days and incorporates a higher ratio of butter for that ideal crunch and the top scored by hand. 

Price: HK$428 for a 20cm cake, plus delivery charge (free delivery for two orders or more to the same location).

2. Écriture

Écriture’s King’s cake is back and, this year, it’s available in three sizes—from 12cm to 18cm—great news for those who can’t finish a whole large galette. The updated version by executive chef Maxime Gilbert and pastry chef Cyrus Yan features house-made puff pastry with rum and orange blossom essence-flavoured almond cream. Place your orders at least 24 hours in advance for pick up at the restaurant between now and 31 January.

Price: HK$288 for small, HK$588 for medium, HK$888 for large

3. Bakehouse

Gregoire Michaud’s highly anticipated galette des rois each feature an adorable little lucky cat fève, an iconic blue Bakehouse paper crown, and a beautifully burnished, scalloped top—expected given the quality of the viennoiserie at Bakehouse. As he finds the traditional galette a bit on the drier side, Michaud decided to use both almond paste and vanilla pastry cream for the filling. Pre-orders can be made at the Wan Chai and Soho stores at least 48 hours in advance, and the galettes can be picked up until 31 January 2022.

Price: HK$388 for a 21cm galette

See also: Bakehouse is Opening Their Third Branch in Tsim Sha Tsui

4. Rosewood Hong Kong

At Rosewood, both types of King’s Cakes are available—a puff pastry version filled with almond cream, lightly dusted with icing sugar and topped with candied almonds, and the southern French version that is a fluffy brioche flavoured with orange blossom and topped with candied cherries, orange, chestnut and pistachio. Note that in both versions, the porcelain fève isn’t actually baked into the cakes, but displayed alongside. Place your orders on their website for pick-up between 12noon and 9pm daily.

Price: HK$478 for the 20cm brioche king cake; HK$498 for the 20cm puff pastry king cake

5. Coco at The Mira Hong Kong

Available from now until 18 January 2022, Coco’s galette des rois comes with a twist—the almond cream is, rather unconventionally, flavoured with matcha. Each cake is baked with Elle & Vire 84 per cent butter for the obligatory buttery crunch. Pre-order yours at the Mira's e-shop.

Price: HK$238 for a 20cm cake

See also: The Best Matcha and Green Tea Desserts Spots in Hong Kong

6. Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

The Ritz-Carlton’s luxurious galette, with buttery pastry and rich almond cream, is available until 16 January with 48 hours advance purchase. Get yours now via the hotel's e-shop.

Price: HK$388 for a 1lb galette

 

7. Monsieur Chatté

Artisanal grocer Monsieur Chatté is a dependable outlet for all things French, and their galette des rois is available without fail each January. The cake is made with 100 per cent AOC butter, and comes with the recommendation to pair it with a crisp Brittany apple cider—order now via the Monsieur Chatté website.

Price: HK$278 for a cake large enough for 4-6 persons; HK$398 for a cake large enough for 8-10 persons

8. Eric Kayser

Known for their croissants, Maison Eric Kayser is where you can expect equally crisp and golden galette des rois.

Price: HK$350, serves 6-8 persons

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