wow factor! celeriac, onion and blue cheese pithiver

celeriac, onion and Stilton pithiver
It's the roar of the crowd; the cries and adulation that make me tingle with pleasure. Hello London!
 

As the rapturous reception dies down, the applause quietens, and the cheers of "Oh my god, Rachel, that's amazing!" fade away, I blush prettily, shrug modestly and murmur "Oh it was nothing, but I'd like to thank . . ."

"Pop"!

And the cheesy, dreamy fantasy bursts as I come down to earth and look at expectant supper-hungry faces - "Well it looks alright, but what's in it?" and my particular favourite "It's vegetarian? I don't eat vegetarian".

Clearly my skills are wasted on a bunch of unadventurous carnivores that could care less what they food looks like. But hey, this girl can dream!


what's inside? celeriac, onion and melting Stilton!
And despite my grumbling, this pithiver (a French puff pastry pie made by baking two circles of pastry with a delicious filling that oozed melting cheese), did look pretty good, if I say so myself. It tasted even better.

I don't think I have ever made any secret of my love of celeriac or of blue cheese, but this is the first time I have baked them together in a pie. It was simple, very easy and tasted wonderful; the combination of blue cheese and onion with the slight peppery bite of celeriac would definitely be worthy of a cheer or two!






Serves 4
Skill level: Medium

ingredients:
butter
1 x English onion, finely chopped
1 x garlic clove, very finely chopped
lightly salted boiling water (to blanch the celeriac)
1 x celeriac (about 450g), peeled and very finely sliced
fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
plain flour (for rolling out the pastry)
500g ready-made, butter puff pastry
plain flour, for dusting
200g blue cheese, crumbled (I used Stilton)
1 egg, beaten

directions:
  1. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and gently cook for 3 to 4 minutes; (it shouldn't colour). Set aside to cool.
  2. After peeling the celeriac, cut it in half and then slice it very thinly. You can use a sharp knife, but it works best with a mandolin. Put the c in half and slice it as thinly as possible with a very sharp knife or mandolin. Blanch the celeriac in the lightly salted, boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to about 5 or 6 millimetres thick. You will need to cut out 2 circles, one bigger than the other. I used plates to cut around. The pastry base had a diameter of 25 centimetres and the pastry top was 29 centimetres. You need to make sure that there is at least a 3 centimetre difference as the larger piece will be going over the smaller one and the topping.
  4. Lay the smaller pastry circle on a lined baking tray and prick several times with a fork.
  5. Lay out some of the celeriac slices over the smaller circle. Make sure that you don't go all the way to the edge; leave a margin of at least 2 centimetres (as this will form your pie edge). Add a little of the onion and garlic. Sprinkle over a few fresh thyme leaves and the crumbled blue cheese. Season with black pepper.
  6. Repeat the layers. Depending on how big your pastry base is, you may only get 2 complete layers in or perhaps 3.
  7. Brush the pastry margin with a little of the beaten egg.
  8. Lay the larger pastry circle over the top (trying to keep it centred!)
  9. Press down on the edges with your fingers to seal the filling in.
  10. I knocked up the edges and then decorated the top by using a very sharp knife to make half-moon shapes spiralling from the centre. I also cut out a tiny circle in the top, to allow steam to escape, but gently rested the pastry circle on its hole (as the pastry will expand when cooking).
  11. Brush with the beaten egg and set aside in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 5.
  13. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Careful before serving, it will be hot!

tips:

  • Works beautifully with other cheeses such as Cheddar, Lancashire or a hard goat's cheese.
  • My mother used to make individual sized pithivers with Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms and goats cheese. No prizes for guessing what I am planning on baking next!

2 comments:

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

I just love a Gateau pithiviers with a layer of Frangipane encased in jammy pastry.Those lucky unadventurous carnivores I say,they don´t know just how lucky they were.
By the way do you have a vested interest in a blue cheese or stilton supplier you lucky girl,You seem to have endless supplies of the yummy cheese.I´m so jealous-or is it just that cheap in the UK that I have forgotten?

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

In the summer I plan to make "raspberry loveliness" . . . and you've guessed it, it is raspberries and frangipane. Sheer perfection!

Um, as for the cheese ... I did get a couple of pots of Stilton, going cheap after Christmas. I have made a rule for myself that I am not allowed to eat cheese au natural - so it can cooked, or part of a meal (say in a salad), but I am not allowed to be left alone to my own devices with a piece of cheese. I can't be trusted!