Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and Dom at Belleau Kitchen wanted us to randomly select a recipe to bake this month, but it had to be one involving chocolate. As I have three books dedicated solely to chocolate, I used a random number generator to pick one of them, and then asked my housemate to choose a page number to select my bake.
The book chosen was Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes, and the recipe was Simon Hopkinson’s Chocolate Pithiviers.
Initially I was a little daunted – it involved time consuming homemade puff pastry, and creme patissiere which I’ve never tried making before, but in the spirit of RR I embraced the challenge and dedicated my Sunday to baking.
I was super happy with how these turned out – the creme patissiere was easier than I expected, lump-free and lush tasting, and the pastry puffed properly, with actual discernible layers!
The only thing I felt that let it down was the filling, which could have just done with another depth of flavour, but overall they were definitely a success.
Thanks Choclette and Dom for making me try a recipe I would have never chosen otherwise!
Chocolate pithiviers (from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes)
For the pastry:
- 225g butter
- 225g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 250ml iced water
- juice of half a lemon
For the filling:
- 250ml milk
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 75g sugar
- 25g plain flour
- 3 medium egg yolks
- 110g butter
- 110g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g chopped dark chocolate
- 1 egg beaten, to wash
To make the pastry, finely chop the butter and mix into the flour and salt, but don’t rub it in – leave the butter in lumps. Stir in the water and lemon juice and bring together into a dough. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and roll into a rectangle, roughly 18x10cm. Fold the top third down lengthways, then fold the bottom third over that. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes, then take it out, turn it 90 degrees, and repeat the rolling and folding. Do this 5 more times – that’s an hour of chilling, rolling and folding!
For the creme patissiere, heat the milk and vanilla in a saucepan until it reaches boiling point. Whisk the sugar, flour and egg yolks until light and fluffy, then slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go. Return to the saucepan and stir over a low heat, until it thickens to a consistency a bit thicker than custard. Leave to cool completely.
Beat the remaining 110g sugar with the butter until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the cocoa powder and almonds, then finally fold in the cooled creme patissiere and the chopped chocolate, and chill again.
To make the pithiviers, roll out the pastry and cit into four 10x10cm squares and four 15x15cm squares. Place the smaller squares on a baking sheet and dollop a good amount of the filling in the middle (you will have way too much filling though so don’t try to use it all).
Brush the beaten egg around the edges of pastries, then place the larger squares on top and press down to seal. Cut into circles, leaving about 1cm around the filling. Remove the trimmings, then press down all around the edges with a fork. Re-roll the trimmings into another 10cm square and another 15cm square and repeat the process, so you have 5 altogether.
Brush the pithiviers with more egg wash, then score them lightly to get the sort of spirally pattern you can see on mine. Dust with icing sugar, then bake at 200 degrees – the recipe says for 15-20 minutes but mine took nearly an hour to crisp up underneath, no idea why! Serve hot with a dollop of cream – delicious 🙂