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Chicken and mushroom Pithiviers

I like to serve this large Pithiviers whole at the table, then carve it up for guests. Very theatrical.

You'll need

700 gm puff pastry For dusting: plain flour 2 egg yolks, beaten, for eggwash   Herb crepes 60 gm plain flour, sifted 1 egg 200 ml milk 2 tsp each finely chopped chives and parsley 1 tbsp melted butter   Chicken mousse 1 (375 gm) chicken breast, skin and sinew removed, well chilled 60 gm eggwhite (about 2), chilled 150 ml pouring cream, chilled To taste: cayenne pepper   Mushroom duxelles 1½ tbsp olive oil 3 large golden shallots, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 sprig thyme 1 bay leaf 200 gm button mushrooms, sliced 3 (200 gm) king brown mushrooms, sliced 150 gm oyster mushroom, coarsely torn 20 gm (½ cup) dried porcini or morels or combination of both, soaked in ½ cup hot water for 1 hour ¼ cup finely chopped fine herbs, such as chives, tarragon, parsley and chervil


  • 01
  • For herb crêpes, place flour in a bowl. Whisk egg and milk together, then gradually whisk mixture into the flour, season to taste, add the herbs and set aside to rest (30 minutes). Heat a 24cm non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Brush with melted butter and pour in enough batter to cover the base (about ¼ cup), swirl and tip out excess, then cook until batter is set (1 minute). Turn upside down on a clean surface and repeat with remaining batter - you'll need 5 crêpes. Cool, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • 02
  • For chicken mousse, dice chicken and process in a cold food processor with a pinch of salt until smooth, then add eggwhite and continue processing until glossy (10-20 seconds). Transfer the purée to a cold bowl. Whisk in the cream and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne, and refrigerate until required.
  • 03
  • For duxelles, combine oil, shallots and garlic with thyme and bay leaf in a large frying pan over medium heat and stir until softened but not coloured (3-5 minutes). Increase heat to high, add fresh mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and fry until golden and moisture has evaporated (5-6 minutes), then drain in a colander. Squeeze water from soaked mushrooms, coarsely chop and sauté briefly in the same pan to dry out (30 seconds to 1 minute), then add to fresh mushrooms. Remove the thyme and bay leaf (discard) and coarsely chop mushroom mixture, then spread on a tray and set aside to cool completely (20 minutes). Stir the fine herbs into the mushroom mixture, then mix into chicken mousse, adjust seasoning and refrigerate until required.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 190C. Divide puff pastry into 300gm and 400gm portions and roll each piece on a floured surface to a thickness of around 5mm. Cut the 300gm portion into a 26cm round for the base and the other portion into a 30cm round for the top. Make sure you work quickly and the pastry stays cold. Place the smaller round on a cold, heavy oven tray lightly brushed with cold water (this prevents the pastry from warping in the oven). Overlap 3 or 4 crêpes on top to form a base and place the cold chicken and mushroom mixture on top. Fold the crêpes up and around the mousse to encase it, then place a crêpe on top. Brush around the pastry edges with egg yolk, then place the other pastry round on top. Press the edges together well, then, using a small pointy knife, cut around the base, leaving a good border of about 3cm. Brush the surface of the Pithiviers with egg yolk and refrigerate to set (10-12 minutes). Brush with yolk and refrigerate again, then score the top with a small sharp knife in a curved pinwheel pattern. Bake until shiny and dark golden brown and puffed (40-45 minutes). Rest for 15 minutes before serving.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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