Sugar Rush: Galette des Rois (Kings' Cake) from Ceci-Cela Patisserie
Today is January 6, the Christian feast day of the Epiphany, which happens to be a special day for competitive dessert eaters. Not only are you encouraged to eat the traditional Kings' Cake, but hope for the lottery slice with the plastic baby Jesus—or, depending on tradition, another trinket-mabob—lodged inside.
Patissier Laurent Dupal of Ceci-Cela bakery in SoHo is taking special galette orders (not gallete, as on sign above; the French bakery butchered their French!) through the end of January, and probably through February. Buttery and flaky, the puffed pastry is filled with the creamy almond frangipane, a traditional French approach. In Mexico, "la Rosca de Reyes" is more fruitcake-like with candied figs, quinces, and cherries.
Whoever finds the figurine, or bean in Mexican tradition, is crowned king or queen for the day, and supposed to buy next year's cake.
I guess the 2010 cake is on me, since I almost choked on the hidden goodie! In lieu of plastic toy Jesuses, Dupal opts for "Santons de Provance," or clay figurines depicting people in colorful Provencal costumes. Mine resembles a hunched-over hag-like woman, who surely is really nice and not actually a hag.
The $29 cakes serve eight. Order from Ceci-Cela by phone or in person at least a day in advance.