French Pastry Desserts: Recipe for Gateau Pithiviers with Video
This recipe for making Gateau Pithiviers, one of the great classic French desserts, includes full directions for making the puff pastry from scratch. For some, this can be too time-consuming and tedious a task, while others will find the mere thought of making their own puff pastry just plain old scary! The instructional video should prove very helpful and allay any concerns you may have and, truly, the end product is certainly worth the effort! Just imagine the impression and appreciative compliments you will receive when you say "I made it myself". But, if you're not too concerned with impressing the hubby and kids or you simply don't have the time, I have included a link at the bottom of the page to a recipe that utilizes readily available pre-packaged puff pastry.
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- 12 ounces (375g) unsalted butter
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- Cold water to mix
- 4 ounces (125g) butter
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ¼ cups ground almonds
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Beaten egg for glazing
- Extra sugar for glazing
French dessert cookbooks
- To make the pastry, shape the butter into a flat square ¼ inch (5mm) thick and press it between two pieces of cheesecloth to absorb excess moisture. Place it in the refrigerator until cool and firm.
- Sift the flour and salt, if used, into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a round-bladed knife, a dough hook or a pasry blender, mix in the lemon juice and sufficient cold water, at low speed, to form an elastic dough. Alternatively, mix the flour, lemon juice, and sufficient cold water together in a food processor to form a dough.
- Turn the dough onto a floured pastry board or marble slab and knead lightly until it is smooth and elastic and not sticky.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle twice as big as the butter square. Place the butter on the top half of the dough and fold the bottom half over. Roll it out evenly to a long strip, taking care that the butter does not break through. Fold the strip of pastry into thirds - folding the bottom third up and top third down. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Place the pastry on the rolling surface with the folded edge to the right. Roll and fold into thirds twice, placing the folded edge alternately to the left, then return to the refrigerator to cool.
- Repeat the rolling and folding processes until the pastry has had seven rolls and folds, chilling whenever necessary. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill well before use.
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg and egg yolk. Stir in the ground almonds, flour and vanilla.
- Roll out half the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a round 11 inches (28cm) across. Using a saucepan lid, cut a circle 10 inches (25cm) across, angling the knife away from the lid slightly. Roll out the remaining pastry slightly thicker than for the first and cut into a 10 inch (25cm) round.
- Place the thinner of the circles onto a baking sheet and mound the filling in the center, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) border.
- Brush the pastry edge with water and place the second round over the filling. Press the edges together firmly. Scallop the edge of the pie with the back of a knife, pulling it in at intervals. Brush the pie with beaten-egg glaze and, working from the center, score the top in curves like the petals of a flower. Chill for 15 minutes.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 425° F (220° C) for 30 - 35 minutes or until firm and puffed. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and place the pie under a hot griller until the sugar has caramelized and the surface is shiny. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Pre-packaged puff pastry recipe
- UKTV Food: Recipes: Gateau Pithiviers
Frank Bordoni's dessert hails from the French town of Pithiviers and consists of a layer of frangipane encased in jammy puff pastry