A Pithivier, originating from Pithiviers, France, has a few recognisable characteristics - circular in shape with a distinctive egg-wash shine and traditionally finished with curved lines scored on the pastry, lightly scalloped around the edges. It can be either sweet [usually a frangipane filling], or savoury with meat and vegetables.
This is a vegetarian version and uses a woody melody of mushrooms mixed with shallots, tarragon, parsley and Pernod, encased in shop-bought puff pastry. It has a distinctively strong flavour and I warn you… it is totally addictive.
I’ve used a mixture of white, shiitake, oyster, chestnut and porcini mushrooms totalling 725g, but feel free to substitute with whatever varieties you can find locally.
However it’s important to have at least 50g of porcini for depth of flavour.
mixed mushroom pithivier
45ml olive oil
400g onions, cut into wedges
300ml vegetable stock
250g sour cream
2 tablespoons Pernod
15g tarragon leaves, chopped
15g flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1kg block of puff pastry, room temperature
salt & black pepper
250g white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
120g shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
125g oyster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
180g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
50g dried porcini mushrooms
1 egg beaten, to seal
1 large egg beaten, mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for the egg wash
Make the Filling Heat a tablespoon [15ml] of the olive oil in large, heavy sauté pan with a tablespoon [15g] of the butter. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions have softened and taken on a bit of colour, transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
Add a second tablespoon [15ml] of oil to the pan along with another tablespoon [15g] of butter. Add the white mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms and leave to cook for a minute without stirring so that they go a bit golden, then stir them and cook for a further two minutes. Add to the waiting onions.
Heat the last of the oil and butter in the pan again and add the oyster and chestnut mushrooms. Again leave to cook for a minute without stirring, then stir them and cook for a further two minutes.
Return the shallot and mushroom mixture to the pan. Add the porcini mushrooms and stock with a good pinch of salt and a long grind of pepper. Cook over a low to medium heat for ten minutes until the stock has reduced to about one-third its original volume, then turn the heat down to low. Add the sour cream and cook for ten minutes again.
When there is just a couple of tablespoons of liquid left add the Pernod, tarragon and parsley. Taste and season if necessary and cook for a final minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.
Assemble the Pithivier
Divide the pastry into two blocks and roll each one out into a 3mm thick square. [They need to be at least 30cm in diameter]. Put on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.
Cut a 28cm diameter circle out of one of the squares, and a 30cm circle out of the other, using plates as guides. Rest again for 15 minutes in the fridge.
Take the smaller circle out and place it on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Spoon the mushroom filling on top leaving a good 2-3cm gap around the edge. Brush the edge with egg and place the other larger circle over the filling, sealing the two edges together.
Use the tines of a fork to make decorative parallel lines around the edge, then place back in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.
Take back out of the fridge and brush the pithivier lid evenly with the egg wash. Lightly mark where the centre of the pithier is then, using the blunt side of a small knife, very carefully draw curved lines out from the centre of the pithivier to the edge, making sure you don’t cut through the pastry.
Pop in the middle of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden in colour.
Leave to rest for 10 -15 minutes and serve at room temperature with a very simple lamb’s lettuce or watercress salad.
This recipe has been adapted from my favourite chef
Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Mushroom & Tarragon Pithivier” recipe.