I still have, somewhere – (I can’t wait to foist it off onto my niece once she’s old enough it no longer poses any choking hazard) – a box of “treasures” that I had saved up in my childhood: almost every sticker sheet I ever received, and the set of pompoms and pipe cleaners my parents once bought me. High class craft material – the stuff you see on TV! (My usual craft materials were plain computer paper and tissue boxes.) But instead of using them, I would just keep the in a box and take them out every once and a while to admire them. They were too special to use!
Anyways, this hoarding (?) behaviour also applies to foodstuffs. Anything that I am given which is extra fancy or hard to get, I cannot make myself use… Like this prune jam, a gift from my sister, which I hung onto for four years before finally making myself crack it open.
But it is perfect for a pithivier – tart and thick. I paired it with a spiced walnut cream.
The rare time that I make puff pastry, I always want to stretch it out over as many projects as possible so I’ve tended to throw in a pithivier with the pastry rolled far too thin. But pithivier is lovely enough to deserve a whole batch of puff pastry if you can spare it!
spiced walnut & prune pithivier
Features of assembly and baking taken from Joe Pastry and Baking by James Pattison. Walnut cream based on typical almond cream ratios.
spiced walnut cream
- 33g soft butter
- 30g brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 45g toasted and finely ground walnut
- 33g egg
- 10g flour
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground dried ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp dark rum
- at least 300g of puff pastry rolled thin… or 500g for a more normal thickness and flakier result (you can also make a larger, say 9″ pithivier, that way) (recipe here)
- 1/4 cup prune jam (I used a jam with a bit of lemon juice for a nice tartness)
- beaten egg for eggwash
Cream the butter, sugar and salt. Mix in the walnuts, then beat in the egg. Mix in the flour, spices, and finally the rum.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Divide the puff pastry in two pieces. Roll out one piece to a bit over 8″ in diametre. If it’s springing back on you, cover and place the pastry in the fridge to rest and then continue rolling. Once rolled out, place on a board cover and chill in the fridge while you roll the second piece.
Roll out the second piece a bit over 9″ in diameter and the transfer to a board, cover and store in the fridge until it is needed.
Place the smaller piece on a parchment lined tray. Use an 8″ cake tin as a guide and cut the pastry into an 8″ circle. Spread with the prune jam, leaving a 1″ border clear. Dollop the walnut cream on top and spread evenly over the prune jam.
Brush a bit of eggwash along the 1″ border. Then take the larger piece of pastry out from the fridge and drape over the first. Again, use the 8″ cake tin as a guide to cut the second piece of pastry to fit. Press down along the edges to help seal.
Use a skewer to make a steamhole in the centre. For decorative purposes, you can make tucks along the edges with the back of a knife and trace a pattern on top with a shape knife.
Brush the top surface with eggwash.
Bake for the first 10 minutes at 450, then turn the temperature down to 375F for about another 20 minutes or until the pastry is deeply browned. Rotate partway through baking.