At DB Bistro Moderne, Three Kings Day, which took place on January 6, will repeat every day for the rest of the month. That's because pastry chef Jerome Maure is baking the traditional galette des rois, or king's cake, through January 31.
The French flaky pastry is a holiday tradition in France, and last year the teams at DB Bistro (both in New York and Miami) decided to incorporate it in the American holiday celebration. "For me this is a childhood tradition," says Maure, who was born and attended culinary school in France. "There's nothing like that in the States."
This is completeely different than the Spanish version of king's cake, roscon de reyes. For starters, roscon de reyes is a brioche-type thing. The filling is either whipped crème or custard, and dried candied fruits crown it. There's also a surprise gift or a dry fava been tucked somewhere in the filling. He or she who gets the slice with the surprise is said to have prosperity for the rest of the year, while the dry fava means you must pay for the cake.
French tradition boasts its own dry fava bean, a feve, which translates to a tiny figurine. "Usually the youngest person in the family is tasked with distributing the slices," says Maure. "That was me, so I had to go under the table and point to each person that the next slice would go to." Under the table? "Yes." Strange, but fun. "The person who uncovers the figurine was then named king of the table."
At DB Bistro, no one will go under your table to pick your slice; they will, however, bring the entire (or what's left) or the galette des rois and let you pick your piece. If you get the king figurine, you'll be given a golden crown to wear for the rest of your meal (and wherever you want, really).
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What makes the French delicacy different than the Spanish rendition in terms of preparation is the puffy and flaky pastry shell exterior and the almond frangipane mixed with pastry crème filling. Every bite is crunchy at first and then creamy, and smooth once your palate makes its way to the filling.
An 8-inch cake is $32 and can be ordered an hour before pickup via the phone or at the restaurant from now all the way through January 31. Don't want to splurge on an entire cake cause of the calories? Get a slice for $6. Or you can always try making it at home. Maure's given us his recipe, but with the warning that it won't taste the same.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha