Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Blast from the Past

I always enjoy observing the adventures that other people take on. Twitter is an amazing place to keep tack of the trials and tribulations of others. And one of the people I follow Laoise aka Cuisine Genie is currently having the adventure of a lifetime at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London.

Last week she tweeted that they were learning about pithivier. This was such a blast from the past for me. While I have eaten pithivier a few times over the last few years I haven't made pithivier since I was in college.

So Pithivier is the most delicious  puff pastry pie that can be either sweet or savoury and it originates from a place in France.  It has a lovely distinctive sundial on the top of it. On Saturday evening I set about making a lovely savoury pithivier which I hope you get a chance to try and enjoy.

Beef Pithivier with a Wild Mushroom Jus


400g  Beef Fillet in a 1cm dice.
1        Large Onion diced.
150g  Mushroom selection diced (I used a mix of chanterelle, oyster and chestnut)
 2tbsp Olive oil
3tbsp Brandy
2tbsp Sour cream.
1 tsp  Chopped fresh thyme
Salt & Pepper

2lbs Puff pastry - you can make it or buy it depending on the time available to you.

For the jus:

200 mls red wine
2     tbsp balsamic vinegar
50g dried wild mushroom soaked for 20 minutes in 50 ml  warm water
200 mls Beef Stock
1     sprig of thyme
2     tbsp brown sugar
       knob of butter

For the pithivier:

To prepare the pithivier sauté the large onion for a couple of minutes in the oil but do not allow to colour too much. Add the beef fillet and sear well. Then add the mushrooms and allow them to cook until just soft.
Add the brandy and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Finally add the sour cream and sitr. Allow the mixture to thicken and the cream to reduce for a few minutes because you don't want the mixture to be too wet.
Allow the filling to cool completely as if it is warm it will melt the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pastry. I just did 500g at a time. When you have it rolled out to about 3 mm no thinner cut out 2 x 6" discs and 2 x  4"discs. Do the same with the other 500g of pastry. Keep the trimmings for something else.

Lay out the 4 4"discs. Divide the filling between the four discs making sure to leave an outer rim of about 1 cm and stack the filling so that you will have a nice dome shape. Brush the rim with egg wash and put the 6" lid on. seal the edges by pinching them together so that you get a nice 'frill'. Place the 4 completed pithivier on a baking tray. Score the top so that it looks like sunrays (see pic). Brush with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes.

For the jus:

Put the wine and vinegar into a hot pot and allow to reduce by half. Then add the stock, chopped mushrooms, water and sugar and thyme an allow to reduce again by about half. It should have started to get syrupy. Finally whisk in the butter to give the sauce a nice shine.

I served this with some lovely cep mash with cep oil that I got from Ballyhoura Mushrooms and some green beans.



  1. Your Pithivier looks gorgeous Gwen! Thanks for the lovely mention X

  2. Great post--cheese ideas and the recipes too.

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