Pithivier is a French pastry, most often a sweet dessert. But it can also be made as a savoury dish, as in this instance. It is a puff pastry pie, basically, filled with whatever you wish.
For my beef steak version I used beef skirt, though any cut of beef that you wish to use would be fine. For my pithivier I based it on a recipe by Nick Nairn for Campbells Meats, but he used ox cheek and I prefer the taste of skirt.
The recipe does take a while to make as it is best to marinate the meat overnight, and then it has to be cooked for 3 to 3.5 hours. After that the meat needs to be shredded and chilled in a bowl to create the shape, which takes another 3 to 4 hours.
To make things easier I used shop bough puff pastry, where I would usually make my own. Rolling out the pastry and filling it, then scoring a pattern on it is actually the easiest part of the entire recipe.
The pithivier itself was very good indeed, so tasty and with the lovely flaky pastry crust and the textured filling of shredded meat with shallots. I didn’t waste the vegetable which were cooked with the meat, as i used the entire marinade to make a lovely rich gravy to accompany the pithivier. For that I simply used my immersion blender to puree the vegetables in the liquid and then added a little thicker together with some salt and pepper to taste.
Altogether I was very pleased with the result.
- 1 kg skirt steak
- 375ml(1 1/2 cus)red wine
- 4-5 star anise
- 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1.5 litres(6 cups) chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 300g shallots, peeled and sliced
- 20g butter
- 20ml olive oil
- 2 rolls, or blocks, of puff pastry
- Marinade the ox cheeks in the wine, star anise, carrot, celery, onion and chicken stock overnight.
- Heat the oven to 140C/285F.
- Remove the cheeks from the marinade, pat dry,s
- Heat some olive oil in a large pan and seal the meat.
- Place the cheeks in large casserole pan and cover with the marinade.
- Cover with foil, or the lid of the casserole pan, and cook in the oven for 3-3½ hours or until soft.
- Meanwhile peel and slice the shallots.
- Cook them very gently in the oil and butter to soften. Then turn up the heat and allow to turn golden brown.
- When the meat is tender tender, remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and gently pull apart using 2 forks.
- Mix the meat with the cooked golden shallots then pack into a Pyrex pudding bowl and refrigerate for 3-4 hours until set.
- Roll out one sheet/block of puff pastry until you can cut a disc 2.5cm/1 inch larger than the top of the Pyrex bowl.
- Roll the second puff pastry to a slightly larger size than the first one.
- Tip the dome of set beef mix on top of the first disc.
- Egg wash the edges then cover completely with thesecond sheet of puff pastry.
- Using a fork, crimp the edges then place in the fridge for 30 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fa/350F.
- Score gently with a sharp knife to create a pattern on the pastry, then coat in egg wash.
- Cook the pithivier on baking paper on a baking sheet for 30-40 mins until golden brown and hot all the way through.
- You can, if you wish, use the marinade liquid and pureed veg to create a gravy that will need to be thickened slightly.