Just when you think Christmas is over, and you have to wait for next December to bake a fruit cake, the world and its food cultures surprise you with one more festive dish. We are talking about the Three Kings’ Cake that’s been trending online – a ring-shaped caked topped with purple, green and yellow icing. Or at least, that’s what we thought until we reached Schengen Lounge at the Luxembourg pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai.
Turns out, the Kings’ Cake has a whole other meaning over there. It is actually a festive puff pastry dessert, which has a creamy frangipane filling piped on top of a raspberry compote. It’s not the colourful one we have been seeing on our social media feeds recently, but a burnished brown with intricate designs made using the tip of a knife. This is the Three Kings’ Cake in northern France, Quebec, Luxembourg and Belgium, and is called galette des rois or dräikinnekskuch, both of which mean ‘cake from kings’.
While these two versions of the Kings’ Cake are made differently, they have one thing in common - a tiny figurine or fève hidden in it. The finder of this tiny figurine gets crowned either a king or queen.
The double crusted pastry is traditionally made during ‘Epiphany’ or the day when the three kings or les rois brought gifts to the manger, to celebrate the birth of Christ. The name takes inspiration from the kings and the cake is eaten on the twelfth night, which is the last day and often falls on either January 5 or 6 of Gregorian calendar.
The fève was initially a dried fava or broad bean, which has now turned into a figurine that’s made with porcelain or metal. If the charm is hidden in your portion, you get the ‘crown’ and are titled king or queen for the day. However, be careful while eating the pastry.
Moreover, it is not easy to find this tiny gift because it depends on luck. Traditionally in France, the youngest person of the family sits under the table and call out the name of the person who should be served a slice. Whoever receives the charm, will also have to host the next year’s Epiphany celebration.
While the time has passed for a festive Three Kings’ Cake, click here for the recipe to making Luxembourg’s version of the pastry, Dräikinnekskuch, made by Michelin-starred head Chef Kim Kevin de Dood.
Featuring a classic frangipani filling or a red berries filling, Kings’ Cake or Luxembourg’s is available at the Schengen Lounge until this evening.
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