We fall for Pierre Augé's crown of kings

The Christmas log is barely behind us and it is time to think about Epiphany and its delicious celebrations. If the "galette des rois" is king in the North of France, in the other half of the country, one tastes on this occasion a "couronne des rois", with orange blossom flavours. This is a tradition perpetuated by the Béziers-based chef Pierre Augé in his restaurant La Maison de Petit Pierre, in Béziers, in Occitanie, and for which he gives us the recipe.

Did you know that Epiphany is at the heart of a culinary battle that divides France in two? In the north, this tradition of the beginning of the year is celebrated with a galette des rois made of puff pastry and frangipane, an almond-based cream. In the south, there is no frangipane, but the crown of kings is the star of the show: a round brioche with orange blossom covered with candied fruit or sugar pearls, depending on the region and the taste.

At France.fr, we categorically refuse to take sides with either of these specialities. So, after having shared with you a selection of king's cakes to savour to start the year off right, we're going to give you the recipe for the crown of kings from chef Pierre Augé, head of the Maison de Petit Pierre, in Béziers, in Occitania.

Ingredients for 6 portions
(To be prepared the day before)

250 g T45 flour
5 g fine salt
50 g white sugar
10 g fresh yeast
112 g kneaded butter
2 eggs
12 g milk
18 g orange blossom water
zest of one lemon
1 egg
Candied fruit
1 bean


Place all the ingredients except the butter in a food processor. Knead until the dough is no longer sticky.

Work in the softened butter with a spatula until it is as soft as ointment.

Once the dough has come loose, add the softened butter and do the same thing: knead until the dough no longer sticks to the sides.

If you don't have a food processor, you can knead by hand, but you have to knead for a long time because the dough is very sticky.

Leave the dough to rise for 1 hour and then remove the gas.
Put the dough in a bowl and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, place the dough on the work surface and form a dough piece, i.e. a ball. Leave to rest for about ten minutes.

Make a hole in the centre of the ball to form a doughnut.

Incorporate the bean into the crown and let rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes depending on the temperature of the room (ideally between 25 and 30°C).

10 minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 175°C.

Brush the dough with the egg yolk.

Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

Decorate with candied fruit and sugar balls or icing sugar.


Getting to Béziers, in Occitania