I never really understood all the fuss about the Alsatian King Cake (galette des rois) until I tried this year's variant from Epicerie Boulud. Their new pastry chef, Mymi Eberhardt, not only hails from the Alsace region, but received her culinary training there as well—and it shows. Just don't sleep on this cake for the Epiphany, it's only available until January 19th.
The pleasure of this cake is the crust's range of textures The outermost layer has a dense, buttery crumb that beckons you to take bite after bite. A shell of crisped dark brown pastry cracks off the top like a turnover, hiding an inch-thick band of frangipane filling. And although the almond filling is softer than the pastry above and below, it blends into one integrated cake.
The frangipane is sweet but not overly so and the almond flavor is subtle--not harsh, like marzipan or an amaretto cookie. Maybe that's what separates this cake from the rest, the utter smoothness of all the layers and the easiness of the flavors. After your first bite you may blow through this in a flash. It's hard to help yourself.
The cake is available until January 19, $6 for a slice, $39 for a whole cake.