A pithivier is a crispy, flaky alternative to pie. It’s also an easy alternative for folks who don’t want to mess with pie dough—though more power to you if you want to make your own puff pastry, too! Traditionally, the surface is scored with a paring knife to create a decorative pattern. It can be as simple (lines) or elaborate (swirls) as you like! For a sharper look, egg wash the pastry before you score it; the score marks will be paler than the surface of the pastry and the pattern will be very clear. For a more even look, score the pastry after scoring it: the pattern will be more subtle and the pastry will be evenly golden brown.
Featured in: The Double Puff Pastry Pie of Your Dreams (Is Simple to Make in Reality). —Erin Jeanne McDowell
- Makes one 9 inch pithivier
(38 g) sweetened dried cranberries
zest and juice of 1 orange
(28 g) bourbon
vanilla bean, scraped
(340 g) fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed if frozen)
(106 g) light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons
(1 g) fine sea salt
homemade or (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry (preferably DuFour brand + thawed if frozen)
egg wash, as needed for finishing
- Place the dried cranberries in a small heat-safe bowl. Reserve the orange zest. Squeeze the orange juice into a liquid measuring cup. Add the bourbon. If necessary, add water to reach 1/2 cup of liquid in the measuring cup (if the mixture is 1/2 cup or more, there's no need to add water).
- Pour the liquid into a small pot. Add the vanilla bean and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the simmering liquid over the dried cranberries. Let it sit for 5 minutes to soften. Remove the vanilla bean.
- Drain the cranberries, and roughly chop them. In a medium bowl, toss the chopped, rehydrated cranberries with the fresh or thawed cranberries to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt to combine. Add this mixture to the cranberries and toss well to combine. Stir in the orange zest.
- If using homemade/puff pastry not already in sheets, cut it in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece the puff pastry to 1/4-inch thick sheets. Cut each into a 9-inch circle—you can freehand it, or use a plate or large cake pan/stand for a guide, or cut a stencil out of parchment, whatever level of commitment you feel like going for!
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer one circle of puff pastry to the prepared parchment paper. Place the filling in the center of the pastry, and spread into an even layer, leaving 1 inch of pastry uncovered all around. Brush the exposed pastry lightly with water.
- Gently unfurl the second circle of puff pastry over the top of the filling—the ends should match up. Use a fork with lightly floured tines to crimp all the way around the pithivier. Press firmly to make sure the puff pastry pieces are sealed together.
- Traditionally, pithiviers are scored with a paring knife to create a decorative pattern. For a sharper look, egg wash the pastry before you score it—the score marks will be paler than the surface of the pastry and the pattern will be very clear! For a more even look, score the pastry after eggwashing it—the pattern will be more subtle and the pastry will be evenly golden brown. I draw lines about 1 1/2 inches apart vertically across the pie. Then I draw short diagonal lines between the vertical lines—sometimes I alternate directions. Really, any kind of score marks work, or none at all.
- Bake the pastry until golden brown and fully baked through, 30-35 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.