Gâteau Pithivier

Gâteau Pithivier

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Puff pastry
extra flour, to dust
1 quantity frangipane, made using rum, (see note)
1 egg
icing sugar, to dust


  1. Cut the chilled pastry into 2 pieces, with one slightly bigger than the other. Roll out the smaller piece on a lightly floured surface to a large square, about 3 mm thick. Using an appropriate size of saucepan lid or plate as a template, cut out a disc of pastry, about 25 cm in diameter. Use a large, sharp knife to do this, making as few cuts as possible to avoid dragging through the pastry as you cut it. Place the disc of pastry on a baking tray, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge while you roll out the top.
  2. Roll out the larger piece of puff pastry to about 26–27 cm square, ideally slightly thicker than 3 mm.
  3. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and spoon the frangipane filling onto the pastry, leaving a 2.5 cm border around the edge. Flatten the frangipane into a disc, 2.5 cm thick.
  4. Lightly beat the egg with a very small pinch of salt, using a fork, then pass through a sieve into a bowl. Brush the pastry border with egg glaze. Carefully place the second, larger piece of pastry over the filling, smoothing it out from the middle of the filling to remove any air bubbles. Press the edges together firmly to seal.
  5. Cut the top pastry layer into a round to fit the bottom layer, then cut up the sides of the pastry. Place 2 fingers lightly on the edge of the pastry and draw the back of a cutlery knife between your fingers and upwards, to create a scalloped effect.
  6. Brush all over with beaten egg, then score the top of the pastry from the centre, curving the scoring like the petals of a flower, without cutting right through the pastry. Chill until very cold and firm to the touch. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220ºC.
  7. Brush the top of the Pithivier again with beaten egg, making sure the glaze does not drip down the scalloped edges. Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the pastry has risen, is a deep golden colour and firm to the touch at the sides.
  8. Heat the grill to its highest setting. Sift the icing sugar liberally over the surface of the Pithivier. Place under the grill briefly to melt the icing sugar, to give it a high gloss sugar glaze, taking care that the sugar does not burn. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • To make the frangipane, cream together 125 g softened butter and 125 g caster sugar until pale, then beat in 1 egg and 1 extra yolk. Put 125 g blanched almonds and 2 tablespoons caster sugar in a blender or the small bowl of a food processor and process until fine. Stir into the creamed mixture with 1 tablespoon plain flour, then stir in 2 tablespoons rum or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and mix to a smooth paste.

Cutting up the sides of the pastry

  • This helps the layers of pastry to separate and rise. To ‘cut up’, use a knife or palette knife to carefully tap the cut sides of the pastry horizontally. These taps should not cut into the pastry, but should be shallow indentations into the sides. The thinner the pastry, the more difficult this is to do.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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