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Oct 1, 2008 01:38 PM


Another ravenous hound (allxum) and I have been discussing "Pithiviers", a classic French dessert, and we have a difference of opinion on what it is. Every recipe book I have on the subject (and I have many) show the identical thing. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I don't believe in "borrowing" pictures, so I created my own, i.e. I made a Pithiviers and took pictures. Before you even look at them please accept my apologies for the look as I am by no means a pastry chef (I am better at cakes). I am not a chef or even a souschef (I am an engineer), and the work is a bit on the crude side. In any case, here are the pictures of before baking, after baking, and cut open.

BTW it was delicious !

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  1. No apologies needed, that is a thing of beauty. It's probably been 25 years but that looks very like the ones my father (a very good home pastry chef) used to make and I KNOW it was delicious!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: GretchenS

      I thought this thread got deleted. For completeness here is a picture of the entire pastry that I also posted on another thread.

      1. re: GretchenS

        Yes, the dough is puff pastry. The filling is ground almonds, eggs, sugar, flour, and rum.

      2. Gosh, that looks beautiful. What is the filling? And is the dough a puff pastry dough, or something else?

        1. Excellent. Beautifully browned, filling appears to have a good balance of moisture and fruit solids (I have it when syrup runs out of these things as they're cut) and your artistic skills in marking the crust reveal your engineering experience. Nice job "souschef".

          1 Reply
          1. re: todao

            Thanks for the compliments. Syrup does not run out if it when it is cut as the filling is solid.

          2. That looks awesome! Could you post your recipe since the one you use doesn't produce that runny syrup?

            3 Replies
            1. re: morwen

              I have the recipe on another thread, but am reproducing it here for completeness, and removing Montreal-specific info. But, before I begin, one caveat: you need a cookie sheet that does not buckle/warp in the oven, especially going from fridge to oven. Forget about blue steel or black steel cookie sheets as they all buckle. I use a half sheet pan from Williams-Sonoma. A pan that buckles throws out the filling half onto the sheet itself.

              1 box butter puff pastry from Loblaws/Whole Foods, thawed overnight in the fridge.
              1 egg, beaten

              1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened (leave it on the counter for a couple of hours)
              4 oz sugar
              1 egg
              1 egg yolk
              1 package ground almonds (100gm/3-1/2 oz)
              1/2 oz flour
              2 tbsp rum

              For the filling: cream the butter in a bowl with a whisk, add the sugar, and beat thoroughly. Beat in the egg and the yolk, then stir in the almond, flour and rum. Set aside.

              The box of puff pastry contains two sheets, each individually rolled and sealed. Take out one roll, leaving the other in the fridge (puff pastry likes the cold). Unroll the pastry directly onto the cookie sheet. Cut out about a 10-inch circle from the pastry. Discarrd the trimmings or save them to make palmiers (love palmiers!). Mound the filling in the centre of the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border all around, and brush the border with egg glaze (the beaten egg). Take out the other roll of pastry and unroll it onto the counter, still on the paper. Cut a circle the same size as before. carefully transfer the pastry to cover the pastry/filling on the cookie sheet and press firmly so that they are sealed together. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for about 3 hours.

              Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and cut a scallopped border all around; the pastry should be quite firm and easy to work with. Then very carefully brush egg glaze all over, making sure that none of the egg falls over the pastry and onto the cookie sheet; if it does the pastry will get glued to the sheet and will not rise. Now score the top in swirls, making sure you do not cut the pastry through to the filling.

              Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 and bake another 20 minutes or so, until the pastry is puffed and brown. Take out of the oven, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve hot.

              1. re: souschef

                Thanks souschef! This is going to be my weekend project!

                1. re: morwen

                  Not counting cooling and baking times, this should take you one hour, tops.

            2. Bravo.

              I think it's time to update your handle ... from "souschef" to maybe "executivechef"?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                heheh! Thanks. I think I'm stuck with this handle.