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Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Tuesday, 5 June 2007


There is something about a pithiviere tart that is really surprising. It is rather ordinary looking from the outside but when you cut in to it you are greeted by a gooey, nutty, buttery filling. This is my recipe for pistachio pithiviere but you can substitute the pistachios with any other ground nuts and the amaretto for any other spirit that you like!
Pistachio pithiviere
1 pack of puff pastry
2oz butter
4oz icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp amaretto
4oz finely ground pistachios
1 egg and 2 tbsp icing sugar, mixed for the glaze

Begin by making the filling - cream the butter with the icing sugar, yolks and amaretto and then add in the ground pistachios. Roll out the puff pastry and cut out two dinner plate size circles. Place one pastry circle on a greased baking tray. Spoon the pistachio filling into the middle of the circle and spread out, leaving a 1 1/2 inch gap around the edge of the pastry. Wet the edge of the circle with water using a pastry brush and top with the second circle of pastry. Seal the edges with a fork and brush the top with the egg and sugar glaze. If you are feeling artistic, use a sharp knife to score patterns on the top of the pastry, being careful not to cut through the pastry to the filling. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and then bake in a moderate oven Gas Mark 4/1800C/350F/Aga roasting oven below a cold shelf for 20/25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Julian hopefully you can use this for your almond powder. Not sure whether you can get puff pastry in Japan but it is quite easy to make yourself. Let me know if you need the recipe!

10 comments:

David Hall said...

Lovely. I like making something similar with my favourite nut, walnuts. Instead of puff pastry, I make a shortcrust and then individual tarts with a little apricot jam (or any jam really) on the bottom and the walnut filling on top, a bit like a Bakewell I suppose. I was going to do it on Masterchef for the critics meal, why didn't I Hannah!?!?!? x

Julian said...

Well, fancy that.

I bought some puff pastry on the way home from work this very evening! Stranger still, I bought with the intention of making what I now know to be a Pithiere Tart! I'd found a vague bunch of scribbled notes taken from a French friend who made that for us years ago. Very vague. "Pastry..egg..almond powder....mix....oven...mmm, yummy!"

So, thanks a lot Hannah for giving me such clear instructions ( I need those!). And thanks to David for pre-empting my next question, which was "Could I use walnuts?" (For when the 'almond powder' runs out!)

Do you have any more equally delicious suggestions?!

BTW How do you make puff pastry, then?

Sorry to be turning this into a request spot!

Cheers,
Julian

Marie said...

That Pithiere Tart sounds delicious! I have never thought of using Pistachio nuts. I love the creamy sweet taste of pistachios. I am betting they taste lovely done this way and give the filling a beautiful green hue. Am I right? Do tell!

Hannah said...

Yes Marie - the filling is nice and green - depending on how green the pistachios are. The ones from the supermarket are never really green enough for my liking. When we lived in London we had a fantastic turkish supermarket which sold bright green ones.

Julian - I will post the recipe for puff pastry here sometime soon. I will try and think of some more ground almond recipes for you but in the meantime you could try the gooey chocolate cake I made in the final of MC as that only uses chocolate, eggs, butter and icing sugar - hopefully you can get all of those in Japan.

Erica said...

Hi Hannah, what actually does "Pithiere" mean? Is it just a name - as in, say "Bakewell tart"? I tried googling it, but couldn't find it.
Still - the recipe sounds yummy!! I should try it with the almond powder.

Thanks again, Erica

Magic Cochin said...

Hi Hannah
Should it be "Pithiviers" ?
see: http://gourmetsleuth.com
(looks like an interesting web site - could spend hours surfing)

Hannah said...

Hi Erica - sorry for any confusion but as Celia correctly pointed out it is Pithivier not pithiere - I always pronouce it without the "v" which is just me being thick!
Sorry if you looked for a long time

Erica said...

Oh please don't worry Hannah! And thank you for site, Magic cochin, (very nice by the way) and now I also know how to pronounce it: pee-tee-VYAY!
See, we learn something every day!

Julian said...

I'm off to lunch with some Japanese and French friends on Sunday, so - if time allows - will try to make the "Pithy" tart to wow them with.

I'll let you know how it goes. I, for one, can't wait to eat it. It may not get as far as the lunch do!

j

Julian said...

Well, I solved the problem of temptation by cooking two Pithiviers tarts. We scoffed one at home and took the other to the lunch party.

I was a bit shocked to discover that the host actually comes from a town not 50km from Pithiviers.....but it all turned out okay as the tart was a roaring success. He reckons the originals are a few centimetres thicker than the one I'd made. I don't know how they'd manage that - simply more filling?

Incidentally, I also made an old family favourite, known in our house as 'lemon deam', which was very popular too.

Add in the rock cakes I made with my son on Saturday, and you can see it was a real baking weekend - completely inspired by your blog, Hannah, so - thanks!