Chocolate Gateau Pithivier

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on February 12, 2013

Chocolate Gateau Pithivier

Pithivier (pronounced pity-vyer) originates in the town of Pithivier, France, and since I’ve had France on the brain lately with an upcoming business trip to that fabulous place in the next few months, I thought I would sneak a classic dessert into the Valentine’s Day lineup.

A traditional Pithivier is made with puff pastry and almond frangipane, sometime called almond cream. This almond cream is made with TPT (tant pour tant, or equal measure of almond and sugar), butter, eggs and flavoring. It is very easy to make and yet another reason why I decided to include it.

It consists of two round pieces of puff pastry that are sandwiched together with a mound of almond cream in the middle. You can either pipe on the filling or simply add it with your spatula and then smooth it out to create a little mound in the center. Add some pretty scalloped edges, brush on a little egg wash, then add the spiral lines, and you have created a simple but elegant dessert.

There is a little trick that the French do that is not often seen here in the USA– to add a little extra decadence to puff pastry desserts, they remove it from the oven when it’s almost done and dust on a thick layer of powdered sugar, then they return to the oven to caramelize. This isn’t necessary but adds an added dimension to the dessert.

Although the sweet version of Pithivier is most common, savory ones are popular too, which you can fill with just about anything. For Valentine’s day, I decided to make a chocolate version of the almond filling, and it turned out even more delicious than the plain version! You can choose to make your own puff pastry if you like, or simply buy it frozen and thaw it when you are ready to use it.

You can make the frangipane in your stand mixer or in a food processor. It’s another great and easy dessert that will make you like you’ve been slaving away all day…

Chocolate Pithivier
Almond frangipane filling:
8 oz almond flour
8 oz granulate sugar
4 oz dark chocolate, melted
4 tablespoons cocoa
4 oz butter, softened
3 eggs
2 tablespoons rum
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg + a little water (egg wash)

Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and set aside. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and cream together, then add the eggs and chocolate and mix until well combined. Add the almond flour, cocoa and rum and process it until you have achieved a smooth mixture.

chocolate gateau pithivier filling

Then place a sheet of puff pastry onto a paper lined tray and score with a fork. Cut out a large round and remove the extra. Place the filling in a pastry bag and either pipe out onto the puff pastry or simply add it to the center of the dough and smooth out into a mound. Make sure to leave a 1” edge around the dough so that you can create the scalloped edges.
chocolate gateau pithivier

Next lay a full sheet of dough over this and smooth it over the filling to fill all of the crevices. Take the same cutter, lay it over the full sheet of dough and cut out the round again. Keep an eye on where the edges are of the first cut out piece of dough are beneath this, it is easy to see, so use it as an outline.

chocolate gateau pithivier

Next, scallop the edges all the way around and brush on the egg wash.

chocolate gateau pithivier

Lastly, do the curved spiral design on top, cut in a vent hole in the center and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. You can dust with a thick layer of powdered sugar if you like, but it’s not necessary. This is definitely better warm, but also delicious at room temperature.

chocolate gateau pithivier, pre-baked


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