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Duck & Cognac Pithiviers

Pithiviers are French pies made my baking two disks of puff pastry together with filling stuffed in between. Our version uses a delicious duck & potato filling.

Duck & Cognac Pithiviers

Serves 6

Puff Pastry

1½ cups plain flour

30g lard, chopped

½ cup iced water

200g butter 

Duck & Cognac Filling

2 tsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 juniper berries, crushed

2 tbsp cognac

2 confit duck marylands, meat 

coarsely shredded

1 potato, such as pontiac or 

desiree, very thinly sliced

1 egg, lightly whisked

To make puff pastry, place flour in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub lard into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add water and use a round-bladed knife to stir until a dough forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until just smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Use a rolling pin to roll dough out to a 10cm x 30cm rectangle. Place butter, slightly cooler than room temperature, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and tap with a rolling pin to make an 8cm x 10cm rectangle. Lay dough on a lightly floured surface with the short edge closest to you. Place butter in the centre of the dough; peel off plastic wrap. Fold the end closest to you over the butter, then fold the opposite end over the top to enclose butter.

Turn dough 90 degrees clockwise and gently press edges together. Use a rolling pin to gently tap to flatten butter. Roll out dough to a 10 x 30cm rectangle and repeat folding process. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Remove dough from fridge and repeat rolling and folding process 2 more times. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat rolling and folding process 2 more times. Place in the fridge to rest.

To make duck and cognac filling, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and juniper berries; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add cognac and bring to the boil. Reduce by half. 

Add duck and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to cool.

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Roll pastry out to a 3mm-thick disc. Use a 14cm-diameter round pastry cutter to cut out 12 discs. Place half the discs on the lined trays. 

Arrange potato slices over each pastry disc, leaving a 1cm border. Spoon duck mixture over potato, shaping to mould into a dome shape. Brush the borderwith a little egg. Top with remaining pastry discs, lightly pressing the edges to seal. Lightly brush pastry with a little egg.

Use a small sharp knife to gently score the top of each pithivier. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. Preheat oven to 220°C.

Bake in oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 25-30 minutes
or until pithiviers are puffed and golden.

* Note: If you’re time-poor you can replace the pastry with 4 sheets ready-rolled frozen puff pastry.

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