The richness of duck makes it the perfect filling for a pie, while the acidity of the goat's cheese keeps that richness in balance in these Pithiviers. These freeze well uncooked; simply pop them in the oven straight from the freezer.
- 50 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 2 duck Marylands (about 1.2kg)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 200 ml red wine
- 2 thyme sprigs
- Pinch of ground allspice
- 150 gm soft goat's cheese
- For brushing: eggwash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch spinach, trimmed
Rough puff pastry
- 450 gm (3 cups) plain flour
- 450 gm cold unsalted butter, coarsely grated
- 1For rough puff pastry, sift flour and a pinch of salt onto a work surface, scatter butter over, then cut and turn butter and flour with a pastry scraper until roughly mixed. Make a well in the centre, add 185ml iced water and mix with a pastry scraper until a dough forms. Divide in two, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (20 minutes). Working with one piece at a time, roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 1.5cm-thick rectangle, fold short ends in to meet in the centre, then fold in half to form a book fold. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (20 minutes). Repeat with remaining pastry, then repeat rolling, folding and resting twice more for each piece.
- 2Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150C. Heat butter in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add duck skin-side down and cook, turning occasionally, until golden (6-8 minutes). Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add onion and garlic to pan, reduce heat to low, season to taste and stir occasionally until onion is very tender (8-10 minutes). Add flour, stir to combine, then gradually add wine, stirring vigorously to remove any lumps. Return duck to casserole, add thyme and allspice, cover and braise in oven until meat falls from bone (1½-2 hours). Cool slightly, remove duck, shred meat and return to sauce (discard skin and bone), then season to taste.
- 3Roll out each pastry half on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out eight 12cm-diameter rounds. Divide duck mixture among half the pastry rounds, mounding up in centre and leaving a 2cm border, and top with crumbled goat's cheese. Brush edges with eggwash and top with remaining pastry rounds, pressing edges to seal. Brush tops with eggwash and score a pinwheel pattern in the top of each with the back of a knife. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- 4Preheat oven to 190C. Bake Pithiviers until puffed and golden (35-40 minutes).
- 5Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add spinach, cover, stir occasionally until wilted (1 minute) and season to taste. Serve hot with Pithiviers.
Drink Suggestion: Light red Passetoutgrains from Burgundy or light pinot noir from the Mornington Peninsula. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.
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