In exactly one week my dearest younger sister will be boarding an airbus and making her way from Old Blighty down to Cape Town. It has been two and a half years since I last saw her and to say that I am excited could be the understatement of the year! The prospect of having the whole family together to celebrate Christmas fills me with glee and over the past few weeks I have been poring over my cookbooks looking for inspiration for the feast I will be preparing for everyone on Christmas Eve.
My menu this year is fairly simple, with one tiny consideration. Aforementioned dearest sibling is a vegetarian. While thinking about meat-free options I came across a recipe in an old foodie mag which inspired me, and I thought it might be useful to those of you who, like me, are catering for veggie-inclined guests this Christmas. It’s called a pithivier.
“A pithy-what-now” I hear you say?
My French is a little rusty these days, so why don’t we just call it a posh pie for now, eh? Essentially that is what it is, two puff pastry rounds enclosing a delicious filling. The recipe I came across was for pithiviers with a creamy pea filling, but I decided to take the idea and change it up to include mushrooms, herbs and chevin instead.
This is a rich dish, but very delicious. The great thing is that the filling can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until needed, which is exactly what I will be doing on Christmas Eve! I found that a 15cm pithivier is just right for one adult serving, but feel free to try different sizes if you wish.
MUSHROOM AND CHEVIN PITHIVIER
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 250g brown mushrooms, sliced
- 250g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
- 125ml white wine
- 125ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp cream
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 700g ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 150g smooth cream cheese
- 75g soft chevin
4.) Cut 8 x 15cm circles out of the puff pastry, (I use a side plate as a guide). Place 4 of the circles on the greased baking tray and brush the edges with egg.
5.) Mix the cream cheese into the mushroom mix, then spoon onto the middle of the pastry circles. Break the chevin into small blobs and dot these over the top of the filling. Cover each one with another pastry circle and use a fork to crimp the edges and seal the pithivier. Use a sharp knife to score a pattern on the top, then brush with egg.
6.) Pop the pithiviers into the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until puffed up and golden. Serve immediately.