Recipe by Riverford
Pithivier is a traditional circular puff pastry pie with a curved pattern cut into the pastry. If you’re not vegetarian, you could add cooked chopped up ham, fried bacon pieces or leftover shredded chicken or turkey to the leek mixture. The pie can be made in advance up to the final baking stage and kept in the fridge. It makes a good vegetarian centrepiece.
LEEK & SMOKED CHEESE PITHIVIER
- 25g butter
- oil for frying
- 1 large or 2-3 smaller leeks, depending on size, shredded
- 50g smoked Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 good tbsp chopped chives (or try parsley or chervil)
- 1 good tbsp crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 sheet ready-rolled all butter puff pastry (or roll out a block to a rectangle, approx. ½ cm thick
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- salt and pepper, to season
- Melt the butter in a large pan, with a splash of oil (approx. 1 tsp). Add the leeks and fry gently for 10 mins, until softened, stirring now and then.
- Take the softened leeks off the heat. Stir in the smoked cheddar, chives and crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Lay out the pastry. Trace and cut around using a side plate, twice, to make two pastry circles. Roll 1 circle 2-3 cm larger than the other, all around. Pop both circles on a non-stick baking tray and transfer to the fridge to chill.
- Crack the egg into a cup. Add a splash of water (approx. 1 tsp) and use a fork to whisk it together, to make an egg wash.
- Once the leek mix is cooled, take the pastry out of the fridge. Pile the leeks onto the smaller pastry circle, leaving a gap of 2-3cm around the edge. Brush the pastry edge with a little of the egg wash.
- Carefully lay the larger pastry circle over the top. Press the edges down to seal it. Fold over the edges to neaten them up a little, if you like (this helps to give it an extra seal, too). Brush with egg wash.
- For a proper pithivier look, score curved lines on top of the pie, without cutting all the way through the pastry (see the photo to give you an idea). This isn’t essential, so don’t worry if you’re not confident doing this.
- Scatter over the poppy seeds. Bake for approx. 25-30 mins, until the top is golden brown and puffed up. Serve cut into wedges.
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