A fantastic vegetarian pie with a wonderful umami flavour. Play around with different mushroom varieties, I love using chestnut mushrooms in the stock, they’re affordable and carry a wonderful depth of flavour. Both the stock, and mushroom filling can be made well ahead of time, and remember when it comes to assembling the pie it's much easier to work when all of the ingredients are cold.
10g dried porcini
A handful of chestnut mushrooms, torn into chunks
1 shallot, cut into 4
a handful of black peppercorns
a few bay leaves
150g unsalted butter
4 shallots, finely sliced
350g mixed mushrooms, preferably some chestnuts, and some wild mushrooms like chanterelles, all mushrooms should be sliced approximately 1cm thick.
120ml dry white wine
100g creme fraiche
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, (if in season)
2 x rolls of puff pastry - one 10 inch and the other 7.5
Put all your stock ingredients into a small saucepan, just cover with cold water and bring to the boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes before taking off the stove and covering with a lid. Allow to infuse whilst you make your pie filling.
Melt 50g of butter into a wide saucepan for which you have a lid. Add the shallots, season well and stir once or twice before putting on the lid. Cook gently for 10-20 minutes, until completely soft.
Slice all the mushrooms. Once the shallots are soft, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add another large hunk of butter, let it melt before adding the mushrooms, season as you go with salt and pepper. If the pan feels a little dry, add some more butter. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes on a high heat before adding the shallots back to the pan. If you don’t have a large enough pan to comfortably fit the mushrooms into, cook them in two batches.
Stir well and increase the heat. Pour in your wine and let it bubble away for 4-5 minutes, letting your nose decipher when the alcohol has burnt off. Next add 200ml of strained mushroom stock. It's important at this stage to let that stock simmer down into the ingredients, so that your mixture is thick and not runny. This can take up to 15 minutes.
Once thick, remove from the stove and stir in the creme fraiche. Check the seasoning and allow it to cool completely before assembling your pithivier.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut out the two circles. Place the smaller circle onto a sheet of parchment paper and onto a flat baking tray, which fits in your fridge. Add the cooled mushroom mixture onto the pastry, leaving a good 3 cm gap around the sides.
Gradually build up the pile of mushrooms, channelling somewhere between a dome and a mound, and not a steep hill! Paint the 3cm edge around the circumference with egg wash before carefully placing the larger circle of pastry on top. Using a fork or your fingers gently, but firmly join the edges. Neaten up any straggly sides.
Traditionally pithiviers are decorated with scouring which is always fun to play around with. Just make sure you don’t cut through the pastry. Once decorated, evenly egg wash the top and place the pithivier back in the fridge to rest and firm up for at least 20 minutes.
Preheated oven to 175°C.
Remove the pie from the fridge and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden, risen and the base is crisp.
Enjoy with a bitter leaf salad dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.