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Yesterday I decided to make Pithiviers,  This involves a two day process as the dough needs to rest in the fridge overnight, before rolling and turning.

I used the recipe from Le Cordon Bleu cook book again, though I actually also checked another recipe for making the puff pastry, which had some very good pictures on each step.

The book I bought has some failings, notably in missing ingredients.  In this recipe it mentions adding ‘the rum’, but the ingredients didn’t list rum.  Nevertheless I decided to add some, but how much was a hit and miss affair.  Rather than add too much I decided to be a little conservative and added just 10 ml.

I will also own up to buying some ready to roll puff pastry, just in case.  But happily I didn’t need it, so it is in the freezer to be used at another time.

The result certainly looks the part, nice and golden on top and the pastry has risen as required.  Quite how it tastes will not be known until tomorrow, when it will be shared with family.

Don’t be put off by the number of steps in the process, the first 26 or so are about making the puff pastry, and you could always use shop bought pastry instead.


Puff Pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g butter at room temperature
  • 100ml water
  • 4g salt
  • 100g butter, straight from the fridge.

Almond Cream Filling:

  • 60g butter at room temperature
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 1 vanilla bean

For finishing:

  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • 60 sugar
  • 60 ml water


  1. Sift the flour and salt onto a work surface.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the water and softened butter.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients together, pulling in the flour gradually.
  4. Use a pastry scraper to cut in the flour until a rough dough is formed. and all the flour is incorporated.
  5. Make the dough into a ball and cut a deep cross into it.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it warm up for a few minutes, to make it easier to roll.
  8. Place the 100g of cold butter between two pieces of parchment paper and bash it with a rolling pin until is it similar in consistency to the pastry
  9. Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a cross shape(this is why you cut the cross in the dough earlier)
  10. Make sure that the centre of the dough is thicker than the cross sections.
  11. Mold the butter to the same size and shape as the centre of the dough and place it on top
  12. Fold over each of the arms to the cross onto the butter, and each other.
  13. press down at the edges to make sure the butter is sealed in.
  14. Now to do the first ‘turn’
  15. Turn the dough so that the folded edges are pointing away from you, and a sealed edge is facing you.
  16. Roll the dough out until it is about 6 inches wide and 20 inches long.
  17. Fold one third of the 20 inches over onto the rest of the dough, then fold the remaining third up onto it.
  18. Turn the dough one quarter turn and roll out again to 6 inches by 20 inches, folding it over then, as before.
  19. That has completed two turns.
  20. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  21. Remove from the fridge and do two more turns as described above.
  22. Wrap and refrigerate again for 20 minutes.
  23. Then remove and do the final two turns.
  24. Wrap again and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  25. Remove from the fridge and cut the dough in half, returning one half to the fridge.
  26. Roll out the other half into a square, about 3-4 mm thick.
  27. Transfer it to a baking sheet, very lightly greased, and place in the fridge to rest.
  28. Cream the 60g butter together with the sugar until light and fluffy.
  29. Beat in the egg until well cobined.
  30. Split the vanilla bean and extract the seeds adding them to the mixture.
  31. Add the rum and combine that as well.
  32. Add the ground almonds and combine them well.
  33. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge until needed.
  34. Beat the egg to make the egg wash.
  35. Preheat the oven to 220c.
  36. Removed the rolled out dough from the fridge and make a 5 inch circle impression on the dough.
  37. Brush the dough with egg wash
  38. Pipe the almond mixtured into the centre of the dough, in a sprial starting at the inside edge of the impressed circle and working inwards.  Add a little extra right in the centre to make it slightly thicker.
  39. Take the second half of the dough from the fridge and roll it out to the same thickness, 3-4 mm, as the first half.
  40. Make sure that the dough surrounding the almond mixture, on the first half, is coated in egg wash.
  41. Carefully place the second half of rolled out dough over the first half, covering the almond mixture.
  42. carefully press down, to remove any air.
  43. Press the dough around the circle of almond mixture, making a neat circle.
  44. Press the dough onto the egg washed surround, so that the whole thing is sealed.
  45. Press that down firmly.
  46. Then cut the whole thing into a circle, and scallop the edges.
  47. Cover the whole of the top with egg wash, making sure it doesn’t run over the side of the dough.
  48. Make a small hole in the centre of the top layer of dough.
  49. Then, from that whole, with a sharp, pointed knife, create a spiral pattern on the dough arcing outwards at first and then back inwards toward the edge.
  50. Place in the oven to bake, for 25 to 30 minutes.
  51. As it bakes you can make a syrup from the sugar and water, by placing them in a saucepan and bringing to the boil and stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  52. Once the pithiviers is cooked remove from the oven and brush all over with the syrup.
  53. Place back in the oven for about another 5 minutes to go a nice, shiny, golden brown.
  54. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

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