It’s generally assumed that Gateau Pithiviers – a classic French pastry – originated in the town of Pithiviers in France’s Loire Valley. But today this simple but delicious dish is enjoyed all over the country. Generally speaking, a pithivier (or pithiviers, after the town’s name) is a round pie that uses puff pastry as its base and top, and has distinctive spiral lines drawn out from the center on the top pastry. Perhaps the most known version is the Galette des rois, eaten for the Feast of the Epiphany.
This particular recipe for the pastry comes from Chef David at Cooking in Gascony; his version is quite traditional as its made with almonds, but he gives it a regional twist with armagnac, a brandy that originates in Gascony. (Although, Chef David says you can substitute the armagnac for rum).
Other variations of the recipe exist as well. Some chefs like to put candied fruits as a topping, rather than a top crust, while other versions are savory rather than sweet. The one thing all these Gâteau Pithivier recipes have in common? They’re incredibly addicting!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Cook method: Bake
- 500 grams (1 lb. 1 oz) puff pastry
- 50 grams (1 3/4 oz) butter
- 115 grams (3 3/4 oz) sifted icing sugar
- 115 grams (3 3/4 oz) ground almonds
- 2 egg yolks (plus egg whites for brushing)
- 2 tbsp Armagnac (or rum)
1. Roll out two 10 inch rounds from the puff pastry.
2. Separately, cream the butter and sugar, and then slowly add the egg yolks.
3. Add the almonds and Armagnac.
4. Using a circular pastry cutter, cut semi-circles out on the outer edge of one of the pastry rounds. (You can forego making the scalloped edge and make a round border).
5. On that same pastry round, spread the filling, leaving a border of about 1 inch all around.
6. Cut the other pastry round to the same size as the inner edge of the semi-circles.
7. Brush the egg whites onto the inner side of the semi-circles, and place the top round of pastry over the filling.
8. With a knife, gently mark the semi-circles with a criss-cross pattern.
9. With the knife again, mark curved spiral lines on the top pastry, 5 millimeters apart, from the center out to the edge.
10. Lightly egg wash the whole gâteau and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Learn other traditional French recipes with a trip to Cooking in Gascony.
By Peg Kern
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