Lesson 17: Pithiviers


Today was a return to the marvels of hand-made puff pastry or feulletage in French.


Three famous incarnations were on the menu.


Lesson 17: Feuilletage ßà Puff Pastry

  • PithiviersLayers of puff filled with an almond cream

  • Dartois Almond Cream Rectangles made from puff filled with almond cream and served in individual portions

  • SacristainsPuff Pastry “Twists” with chopped almonds and nibbed sugar with cinnamon

  • Apricot TartA square puff tart with almond cream and apricot halves with apricot glaze


Today particularly his flour dusting technique had a magical air about it!

With this demonstration we were to use wallet turns, a different method for turning détrempe dough into puff pastry, only the chef diligently pointed out that the final product shows no difference to a simple traditional turn.


Another pleasant surprise was the difference in height and layers between the chef’s pre-prepared puff dough and our own recipe.


Only he was more than happy to point out that the reason for the different outcomes was that he used his own recipe and a different technique, but that he would not be willing to share said secret and proprietary knowledge.

In short form – salt, water and melted butter with the flour, mixed until it forms a ball and then chilled, flatten out and enchase le beurre sec (enwrap the dry butter), beat out in one direction with the pin and then roll out, make the first wallet turn, roll out and then do a total of 4 wallet turns before forming the different incarnations.



Practical…ly Hard to Get Up!


Why is it that it is so much harder these days to wake up at 6:30!


Class starts at 8:30, and ideally I need to be at school at 8.


It is really hard for some reason!


Can’t explain it!


Well, after struggling from bed in 8 degrees I made it to school on time ready for today’s task!


Pithiviers and twists!


Here is the method in photos as – each one shows the steps – so why write when I can let the pictures do all the talking for me!

The chef was on a mission today – allez allez, allons y!


Fast and to exacting specifications!


Here were my quick fingers…


I thought I would try one last time to ask if I could do my own design but alas I was destined to produce the traditional style!


“Le grand petale c’est, Carrfour Market, le petit c’est Pierre Herme”

Our chef was quite adamant today and instructed us very carefully as to how we must decorate our Pithivier

NB. For those who are as yet to travel to Paris, Carrfour Market is like a very cheap local supermarket with a small baked goods section, Pierre Herme is regarded as one of the top Pâtissiers in Paris and the World.


Next on the list of steps to tackle were my twists made from the scraps of the pithivier dough.



A second attempt at puff worked nicely although I would have preferred a little more height!



The chef was impressed though so at least I pleased the person that counted.

Above we see one of the students, my friend, but also a cunning fox, trying to steal the Pithivier of another maker, namely my other friend, the Pastry Chef!


I have to say my audience and judges panel of two homeless guys both thought they were absolutely delicious and one gave me a thumbs up!


Two weeks and counting until the end of Basic Patisserie… only 3 practicals to go and the ultimate prize triumph at the Practical Exam!


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