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Chicken, leek and black garlic Pithivier

As good as it looks.

By Dominic Smith
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 15 mins cooking (plus cooling)
  • Serves 4 - 6
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This classic French pie hails from the town of Pithiviers, and comprises of two discs of puff pastry and a distinctive patterned pastry top. The filling here is creamy chicken and leek, lifted with the savouriness of black garlic. Begin this recipe the day before.


  • 200 gm Desiree potato, peeled and chopped
  • 190 ml pouring cream, warmed
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 650 gm chicken thigh fillets, fat trimmed
  • 50 gm butter, chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 100 gm flat pancetta, trimmed, cut into lardons
  • 2 black garlic cloves, finely chopped (see note)
  • ¼ cup (loosely packed) tarragon leaves, finely chopped
  • 160 ml (⅔ cup) dry white wine
  • 55 gm plain flour
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 60 gm finely grated parmesan
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted (see note)
  • 1 egg and 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten, for eggwash


  • 1
    Place potato in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender (35 minutes). Drain and pass potato through a ricer into pan. Add 60ml cream, stir well to combine and season to taste. Cool mixture completely.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat. Sear chicken, in batches if necessary, turning occasionally until browned all over (6 minutes). Remove from pan and rest on a large plate until needed.
  • 3
    Reduce heat to low, add butter, leek, pancetta, garlic and half of the tarragon to the pan, and cook, stirring frequently, until leek is soft but not coloured and pancetta is lightly browned (8 minutes). Increase heat to high and deglaze pan with wine until reduced by three-quarters (3 minutes). Add flour and stir until combined. Stir in stock and remaining cream, add chicken and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce has thickened; season to taste. Remove chicken from pan and cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, tear chicken into chunks and return to pan. Stir in parmesan and remaining tarragon, season and refrigerate until cooled.
  • 4
    Cut one sheet of pastry into a 25cm- diameter circle, and the second sheet into a 22cm-diameter circle. Cut a 4cm disc from the off-cuts and cut a 2cm hole from the middle to form a ring. Place all pastry on oven trays lined with baking paper and refrigerate until needed. Spread mash in the centre of the 22cm circle leaving a 5cm border then top with chicken mixture and form into an even mound; brush edges of the circle with eggwash then top with second larger pastry circle and press the edges to seal. Cut a 2cm hole in the top of the pithivier and place the 4cm pastry ring over the hole, leaving the holes open to allow for steam to escape while cooking. Brush all over with eggwash and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Repeat brushing, then refrigerate overnight.
  • 5
    Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Lightly score the top of the pithivier, then using your knife crimp the edges and bake until golden (40 minutes). Cool slightly before serving.


Black garlic is available from select delicatessens and supermarkets. We prefer to use Carême puff pastry, which comes in pre-rolled 375gm sheets.