This is such a brilliant combination – intense, gooey melted cheese and mushroomy goodness encased in golden flaky pastry.
280 grams round brie or camembert
10 grams dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, finely chopped
350 grams mixed mushrooms, finely chopped (I used Swiss brown and field mushrooms)
1 tablespoon sherry
300 grams butter puff pastry (I used Paneton’s pre-rolled pastry)
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
sea salt and ground pepper
Put the cheese in the freezer to chill until required.
Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and cover with ¼ cup boiling water then leave to rest for 15 minutes. Drain the reconstituted mushrooms well and chop finely.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the garlic and shallot together over a gentle heat for 3–4 minutes. Increase the heat and add both lots of mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.
Add the sherry and cook a few minutes more until the mushrooms are quite dry. Put in an uncovered container and chill in the fridge until required.
Roll pre-rolled pastry out slightly so that you have enough room to cut out four circles. Two circles should be 2cm wider than the circumference of the brie, and 2 circles should be 4cm wider than the circumference of the brie. Starting from the centre, mark 6–8 curved, very light knife slashes in the top of the bigger pastry rounds – only just breaking the surface (this is the traditional pithivier pattern).
Remove the cheese from the freezer and use a serrated knife to slice it in half so that you have two brie circles. Place each cheese half, cut side up, in the middle of the smaller pastry rounds.
Top each with half of the mushrooms – spread to cover the top evenly. Brush the exposed pastry edge with egg wash and top with the larger pastry round.
Press the edges of the pastry together and trim neatly. Brush with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Use your thumb or the tines of a fork to press the edges together securely. Refrigerate for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190°C and put a baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Cook pithiviers for 20–25 minutes until golden and flaky. Slice each into 6–8 wedges to serve with drinks or with a small green salad as an entrée. I served mine with a little cranberry relish, but they would also be great with apricot chutney or a little quince paste.
Cook's Tip: These freeze really well, too, so you can always make two and keep one for later – just defrost overnight in the fridge before cooking.