To celebrate National Pie week a few weeks ago, I decided to make mini Pithiviers – layers of buttery pastry filled with a nectarine and honey jam, and a layer of frangipane.
It’s a two day process for making these – day one is for making the nectarine jam and puff pastry, day two is for the frangipane and assembly. By all means, you can use shop bought puff pastry, but I find making your own is very satisfying and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll always make your own!
Puff pastry ingredients
420g strong bread flour (350g for the detrampe (base dough) and 70g for the beurrage
a few drops of lemon juice
180-195g iced water
40g butter, softened
375g cold butter, cubed (for the beurrage
To make the detrampe (base dough)
Put 350g of strong bread flour into a stand mixer with the salt, lemon juice, iced water and the softened butter. Mix at a slow speed for two minutes, then increase to a medium speed for another four minutes. Scoop the dough out, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for 45 minutes.
Alternatively, rub 350g of strong bread flour and 40g butter together in a large bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt, iced water, lemon juice and mix together with a wooden spoon. knead lightly to form a dough, wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 45 minutes in the fridge.
To make the beurrage
Put the cold butter in a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment. Mix at a medium speed for 30 seconds, until the butter is smooth, then reduce the speed and add the 70g of strong bread flour. Mix together to combine, then transfer the mixture to a chopping board lined with clingfilm. Shape into a 10cm square block, wrap tightly and chill for 45-60 minutes.
Alternatively , put the butter cubes and 70g strong bread flour into a bowl and beat together. Shape into a 10cm square block, wrap tightly in clingfilm and chill for 45-60 minutes.
To fold and roll the pastry
To make the best pastry possible, it’s very important that the following steps are completed quickly and everything is kept cool so that the pastry doesn’t become warm and sticky.
- Unwrap the detrampe and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a square measuring 22 x 22 cm.
- Turn the dough so it makes a diamond shape on the work top. Place the beurrage squarely on it and fold the corners over so they meet in the middle and it looks like an envelope. Press the edges together with your fingertips, then press the bottom of the square with the rolling pin, then the middle and then the top to secure it.
- Roll the pastry into a 60 x 20cm rectangle. With the longest edge facing you, fold the right side in by a third, so the size is now 40 x20cm. Repeat witht he left hand side, so you now have a block 20 x 20 cm again.
- Turn the pastry 90 degrees, and repeat the rolling and folding process. Wrap loosely in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and repeat stages 3 and 4 again. The dough has now been folded four times. Wrap in clingfilm and return to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Repeat folding the pastry and return to the fridge, wrapped in clingfilm. The pastry is now ready to use.
Nectarine, brown butter and honey jam
70g unsalted butter
500g nectarines, stones removed and chopped
1tsp vanilla bean paste
- Wash nectarines, remove stones and chop into cubes.
- Melt butter in a large, deep saucepan over a medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until a nutty brown. Pour the butter into a bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat to a medium-low heat and add the nectarines, vanilla and honey and cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally, until the nectarines are softened and jammy.
- Remove from the heat, and place in a bowl to cool down. When cooled, cover and place in fridge until needed.
85g butter, softened
85g golden caster sugar
50g egg (1 medium egg)
65g ground almonds
30g plain flour
a few drops of vanilla extract
a few drops of almond extract
- Beat together the butter and sugar in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy, or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs, followed by the ground almonds, flour and vanilla and almond extracts until thoroughly combined.
- Place in piping bag and set aside until needed.
Assembling the Pithiviers
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons demerara sugar
- Divide the pastry into two halves. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half of the pastry to a 2-3mm thickness. Use a 10cm pastry cutter and cut out 12 rounds. Place the 12 rounds on two lined baking trays.
- Cut the end of the piping bag, and pipe the Frangipane onto each pastry disc, leaving a 1cm edge exposed from the edge.
- Place a tablespoon of the nectarine jam on top of the Frangipane on each pastry disc.
- Roll out the remaining pastry and cut another 12 10cm rounds from the pastry.
- Brush the beaten egg around the border on the base pastries and lay a disc of pastry over the top of each one. Carefully smooth it over the filling, starting from the centre of the pie and making sure there are no air bubbles inside. Press around the edges to seal well.
- Place in the fridge for 30-40 minutes to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/GM6
- Brush the remaining egg over the tops of the Pithiviers.
- With a sharp knife, make a small hole in the centre of each Pithivier, and carefully score neat, spiralling lines through half the depth of the pastry to make it look like a sunburst.
- Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of each Pithivier and place in oven for 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
- Remove from oven, and leave to cool on a cooling rack.