Author Notes: I used to love tearing out great recipes from food magazines (bad behaviour I know), till I grew up and turned responsible. And then I regressed when visiting my sister (a non-foodie) recently in Scotland. See, she'd inherited a bunch of old mags - some recipes I photographed, others made a conscious split from the centre binder. It was in one of these I first saw a pithivier recipe. The original recipe uses mincemeat and uncooked apples to create this French masterpiece. I made two versions - using raw apples and wine poached and stuffing all with a combo of gently toasted pecans and homemade frangipane (in Dutch, Amandelspijs - almond spice). They were almost equally delicious! This 'cake' is also known as galette de rois and has all the great elements of a holiday brekkie - simple to make, can be prepared ahead, looks stunning and is a pleasure to eat. A worthy replacement I think for the croissants and pain au chocolats of this world! - Kitchen Butterfly
Makes 4 pithiviers
Apple & Amandelspijs Pithiviers
- 250g block puff pastry or a sheet 50 X30cm
- 4 apple halves - raw or wine-poached apple halves (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup of pecans, toasted and hand broken
- 2-3 tablespoons frangipane/amandelspijs (see recipe for Amandelspijs here http://www.food52.com/recipes/7710_speculaas_cake)
- 1 teaspoon (lemon) thyme leaves, chopped (optional)
- 2 egg yolks, whisked lightly
- Serve with vanilla custard and frozen quenelles of creme normande - a combination of cream fraiche, mixed with whipped cream, icing sugar and Calvados
- Roll out the puff pastry - the pastry should be 3-4 millimetres thick. Cut it into four 13cm discs and four 15cm discs. The 13cm,smaller discs will form the base of the pithivier and the larger 15cm ones, the top. Place them on a lightly floured tray/parchment (which can fit into the fridge)
- Stuff the apple core with some broken pecans and a small ball of amandelspijs. If using, sprinkle some thyme over the top of the amandelspijs. (I loved the taste and flavours of the thyme)
- Place cut side down, and rounded side up in the centre of the disc- you should have at least a 1cm border round the apple. Repeat for all pithiviers. Brush egg yolks on the exposed pastry bottom, with outward motion (easier), round the edges to form the seal.
- Place the larger rounds over the top of the bottom, ensuring that you mound your palm so the pastry rests on the apple and firms up the shape. Press or crimp the edges to seal. Refrigerate for an hour, along with the remaining egg yolk which you will use in step 6.
- Remove pithiviers from the fridge and attempt to trim the edges with a 14cm pastry cutter (which I didn't have and will buy now!). This will make the edges look neat but it isn't essential.
- Brush the remaining egg yolks over the top of each pithivier to 'eggwash' them. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
- If baking now - preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Finally remove them and using the blunt/dull side of a knife, make a Catherine wheel pattern - curved lines which originate at the centre but arc out towards the base. A bit like the underside of a mushroom. at this stage, the pithiviers can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for at least a month. Both the refrigerated and frozen pithiviers should be cooked from 'cooler'.
- Place on a well greased oven tray in the centre of the (pre-heated) oven and bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until the pithiviers are golden and risen.
- 1 cup sweet white wine
- 1 cup water
- 2 cinnamon pods
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 3/4 - 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, spilt or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- skin of 1 orange, in large strps
- 2 firm, sweet apples, peeled and halved lengthways, core removed with melon baller or scoop to make depression
- Make poaching liquids by combining all the ingredients except the apples in a medium sized pan. Heat up till the sugar is dissolved and begins to look syruppy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the apples to the poaching liquid and poach for 10 minutes till the apples just soften. Remove from the liquid and set out apple halves on a cake rack to drain.
- You can cook the syrup down till reduced by half and store in the fridge or serve as accompaniment to cream and custard!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Dish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Breakfast