Let’s talk about true culinary decadence–a mushroom Pithivier. And if you’re staying in, it’s the perfect recipe to ring in the New Year. This gorgeous, golden-brown, wild mushroom Pithivier is a mushroom-lovers dream come true. Flaky, puff pastry filled with a wild mushroom and crème fraiche filling that is outrageously addictive. And if you still can’t quite imagine it, think beef Wellington, sans the beef. This is not my recipe, it was created by the incredibly talented Yotam Ottolenghi, my version below has been lightly adapted.
A Pithivier is a traditional French dish hailing from the town of Pithivier, in the Orléans region of France, which dates to the 17th century. A Pithivier is a free-standing, free-form puff pastry “pie” so stunning that it’s as much a centerpieces as it is a dish.
The traditional example, which is not dissimilar to the frangipane-filled galette des rois made to celebrate Epiphany, has a sweet almond centre, though these days a Pithivier is just as likely to be savory. In fact the internet is full of recipes for Pithiviers stuffed with fish, fruit, and even tofu and mushrooms.
Who is Ottolenghi?
The creator of this recipe, Yotam Ottolenghi is the chef-patron of the Ottolenghi group. He is the author of several best-selling cookbooks which have garnered numerous awards, including the National Book Award for Ottolenghi SIMPLE, which was also selected as best book of the year by the New York Times. Ottolenghi has been a weekly columnist for the Saturday Guardian for over fifteen years and is a regular contributor to the New York Times. I have been a Ottolenghi fan for many years, and this delectable dish confirms why, he’s food is so exceptional.
The puff pastry is what ultimately defines a Pithivier – without the pastry, it’s just a pie. The truth is, if you’re willing and able, making your own puff pastry is the way to go, and yes, it’s worth it. But that is not for everyone, and I totally get that. As I’ve said before, then make sure to buy well. My go-to for pre-made puff pastry is what I used when I worked in restaurants, Dufour Pastry Kitchen Puff-Pastry. It is an exceptional product with a great buttery taste.
Homemade or not, it’s very important that the pastry and the filling are well chilled before you start construction. I also recommend resting the Pithivier before baking it, once assembled, to prevent the pastry from becoming too soft and compromising its structure. I also like to start the baking on convection. The air that circulated while cooking in this mode helps the puff pastry layer puff up and do their amazing thing.
This iconic dish makes a wonderful vegetarian show-stopper for New Years, but is rustic enough to hold its own at a Sunday brunch with friends just the same, so don’t hold back.
Wild Mushroom Pithivier
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 24 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (cramini, button, shiitake, oyster, clamshell), cleaned and the larger ones quartered
- Salt and black pepper
- 6 ounces crème fraîche
- 2 Tablespoons Pernod
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2-lbs all-butter puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Step 1 Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a third of the oil and butter, add the shallots and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring, until soft and brown. Transfer to a bowl. Add another third of the oil and butter to the pan, and cook the mushrooms on medium-high heat, stirring only when needed, until all the mushroom liquid has evaporated and you are beginning to see just a little coloration.
- Step 2 Add the shallots back to the pan, season with lots salt and pepper, add the Pernot and cook for a few minutes until the liquid is almost evaporated. Reduce the heat and add the crème fraîche and cook for about 8 minutes. Once a relatively small amount of thick sauce is left, remove from the heat and stir in the tarragon and parsley, adjust the seasoning to taste and set aside to cool.
- Step 3 Meanwhile, cut the pastry in two and roll both blocks into 1/4-inch squares. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, then cut into circles, one about 11-inches in diameter, and the other about 12-inches in diameter. Leave to rest in the fridge again for at least 10 minutes.
- Step 4 Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, convection setting ideally. Place the smaller circle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the cold mushroom filling on top, leaving a 3/4-inch border all around. Brush the edge with egg, lay the other circle on top and seal the edges. Use a fork to make decorative parallel lines around the edge. Brush with egg and use the blunt edge of a small knife to create circular lines running from the centre to the edge, just scoring the pastry but not cutting through it.
- Step 5 Place the Pithivier in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until golden on top and cooked underneath. Allow to cool slightly, 5-10 minutes, before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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