AT A GLANCE
I like to serve this large Pithiviers whole at the table, then carve it up for guests. Very theatrical.
|01||For herb crêpes, place flour in a bowl. Whisk egg and milk together, then gradually whisk mixture into the flour, season to taste, add the herbs and set aside to rest (30 minutes). Heat a 24cm non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Brush with melted butter and pour in enough batter to cover the base (about ¼ cup), swirl and tip out excess, then cook until batter is set (1 minute). Turn upside down on a clean surface and repeat with remaining batter - you'll need 5 crêpes. Cool, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside.|
|02||For chicken mousse, dice chicken and process in a cold food processor with a pinch of salt until smooth, then add eggwhite and continue processing until glossy (10-20 seconds). Transfer the purée to a cold bowl. Whisk in the cream and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne, and refrigerate until required.|
|03||For duxelles, combine oil, shallots and garlic with thyme and bay leaf in a large frying pan over medium heat and stir until softened but not coloured (3-5 minutes). Increase heat to high, add fresh mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and fry until golden and moisture has evaporated (5-6 minutes), then drain in a colander. Squeeze water from soaked mushrooms, coarsely chop and sauté briefly in the same pan to dry out (30 seconds to 1 minute), then add to fresh mushrooms. Remove the thyme and bay leaf (discard) and coarsely chop mushroom mixture, then spread on a tray and set aside to cool completely (20 minutes). Stir the fine herbs into the mushroom mixture, then mix into chicken mousse, adjust seasoning and refrigerate until required.|
|04||Preheat oven to 190C. Divide puff pastry into 300gm and 400gm portions and roll each piece on a floured surface to a thickness of around 5mm. Cut the 300gm portion into a 26cm round for the base and the other portion into a 30cm round for the top. Make sure you work quickly and the pastry stays cold. Place the smaller round on a cold, heavy oven tray lightly brushed with cold water (this prevents the pastry from warping in the oven). Overlap 3 or 4 crêpes on top to form a base and place the cold chicken and mushroom mixture on top. Fold the crêpes up and around the mousse to encase it, then place a crêpe on top. Brush around the pastry edges with egg yolk, then place the other pastry round on top. Press the edges together well, then, using a small pointy knife, cut around the base, leaving a good border of about 3cm. Brush the surface of the Pithiviers with egg yolk and refrigerate to set (10-12 minutes). Brush with yolk and refrigerate again, then score the top with a small sharp knife in a curved pinwheel pattern. Bake until shiny and dark golden brown and puffed (40-45 minutes). Rest for 15 minutes before serving.|