Pithivier is a classic French dish, made of two discs of puff pastry with a filling (traditionally Frangipane, a sweet almond paste) between them. Named after Pithiviers, the town of its’ origin, they have become known around the world. The pastry is usually large, and the filling is placed in the center, creating a dome shaped pastry. It is then elaborately decorated, with designs made with a pairing knife on top and around the edges.
To make preparing and serving easier, individual pastries were introduced. The quick version I have here is not as elaborately decorated as the classic one, but the flavors are all there and they make for a wonderful, aromatic and tasty dessert. Using high quality store bought all-butter puff pastry, makes it even quicker to prepare, while not compromising on flavor.
If you’re looking for a last minute impressive and tasty dessert, this is the right one for you. Try it and enjoy.
* All-butter puff pastry is crucial for the success of this pastry. Homemade dough is obviously the best, but when in a rush good quite store bought one is also a good option.
* The Frangipane (sweet almond paste) can be prepared up to a week in advance. The amount I have here is for 12 individual pastries, so the rest can be either kept in the fridge or frozen for up to a month. Besides using it for this pastry, it is a great base for any fruit tart.
* To make preparation even faster, cut the discs in advance and place in the fridge until using.
* As with all puff pastry baking, it is crucial to keep it in the fridge until using and to make sure the oven is hot before baking. If you don’t want to end up with limp pastries that didn’t puff up properly, don’t skip these steps.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
For the Frangipane: (enough for 12 pasties. See notes)
½ stick (55 grams) butter, melted and cooled
1 1/3 cups fine almond meal
½ cup sugar
1 Tbs grated lemon zest
1 L egg
1 Tbs Amaretto liqueur (or brandy or dark rum)
2 Tbs cornstarch
¼ cup flour
For the pastries:
14 oz (395 grams) good quality or homemade all-butter puff pastry, rolled, cold
For the egg wash:
1 L egg yolk
1 Tbs powdered sugar
½ tsp water
A few drops vanilla
1. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients for the Frangipane. Knead to incorporate. Cover and keep, in the fridge until using and up to a week.
2. To bake: preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Line a cookie sheet pan with baking paper.
3. Place the sheet of dough on a lightly floured work surface. With a cookie cutter, cut 12 3.5” (9 cm) discs. Mix the egg wash ingredients in a small bowl and brush the discs with it.
4. Create 6 ping-pong size balls from the Frangipane and place each in the center of six of the discs. Cover with the rest of the discs, egg wash side down, and attach the edges with a fork. With a sharp knife, create superficial spiral cuts over the top, and a small hole in the center. Brush the tops with the rest of the egg wash.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, until the pastries are puffed and golden-brown. Serve immediately.