Wednesday 14 October 2015

Jus-Rol Pastry: Chicken, Squash and Sage Pithivier

Jus-Rol have been making pastry in Berwick-upon-Tweed for over 60 years and they have just launched a new campaign, Jus Create, to showcase what you can do with pastry.

I would think most people have used Jus-Rol at some point to at least make an apple tart, a chicken pie or puff pastry straws. But there are so many more things you can make, some of which I learnt recently at a demonstration evening.

I was invited by Jus-Rol, who have teamed up with Great British Chefs, to an evening at the Atelier des Chefs cookery school in London. Professional chefs Mark Dodson and Sally Abe, who have both got impressive credentials and many years of experience, had devised four recipes, including the chicken, squash and sage pithivier.

We watched a demonstration of the pithivier and of a chocolate and peanut butter ganache tart; you can see the recipe for the tart here. We were divided into two groups and made one recipe each; I made the pithivier but I did get to taste the chocolate tart as well and it was amazing! Really easy to make and a great recipe to end a dinner party with.

I'd never heard of a pithivier before; it's a French pie made with flaky puff pastry, but instead of having a deep dish base and a flat top as many pies have, this one has a flat base and a domed top. Did you know puff pastry was invented in the 17th century?

You can see the recipe for the one we made here.

It's a real crowdpleaser, and you can make them small or large - we watched Sally make a large one then made small ones ourselves. Most of the prep can be done before your guests arrive so you just pop it in the oven while you are chatting and mingling. That's my kind of dinner party!


I also picked up lots of useful tips, such as: take pastry out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before using. You want it to be chilled, but not too cold.

When lining a tin with pastry, let the pastry overhang the sides and bake it like that as pastry will often sink. Then trim off the excess afterwards, with a serrated knife.

This is where we came to make our own...

They were quite small so it was hard to get much filling on the base. It helped that I don't like mushrooms so picked them all out!

I also learnt - afterwards - that when scoring pastry you should hold the knife at an angle. If you hold it vertically like I did here, the cuts won't really show up after baking.

Egg wash is always important for a golden shell.

Here's one of the large pithiviers cut in half. It was lovely!

Thanks to Jus-Rol for inviting me to the event.

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