Monday, April 23, 2007

A recipe from Friday

One of the dishes I made on Friday was a butternut squash pithivier, pronounced pee-tee-VYAY ; I believe it is a town in France, south of Paris, but it's also a round, filed pastry, usually sweet, but it can be savory, as these were.

I elected to make the puff pastry cases first, and fill them after, because I thought that would result in a more delicate crust, and improve the filling to packaging ratio - so, technically, these are open pithiviers, since the shell is not crimped around the edges. They were so pretty when I took them out of the oven it made me quite happy - this picture is the leftovers so looking a little deflated, but still attractive.
Butternut squash, leek, and pumpkin seed open pithiviers
makes 6

1 17 oz. package puff pastry sheets (like Pepperidge Farm)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 large leeks
4 TBLS butter
3 cups of cooked, mashed, butternut squash
salt, pepper, a grate of nutmeg

For serving - Romesco sauce

Thaw the puff pastry in the unopened box for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Unfold it, and cut out 3 rounds per sheet - I used the lid of a quart yogurt tub as the guide. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and brush lightly with egg. Decorate with pumpkin seeds, and brush a little more egg over the seeds. Bake at 425° for about 10 minutes until browned and puffed. Stab the side of each case with the tip of a sharp knife (for ventilation) and set aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 350°.

Melt the butter in a big skillet. Slice the leeks longwise, and rinse carefully, then chop them and add them to the butter. Cook the leeks slowly for 10 - 15 minutes, until they are, as Nigel would say, "meltingly tender" but not browned. Add the squash, and nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stir well. If you are making the pithiviers right away, leave the mixture on the heat until it is warmed through.

Toast the remaining pumpkin seeds in the oven.

Split each case horizontally, and remove any uncooked pastry. Fill the cases with the squash mixture, add a sprinkle of toasted seeds, and put the tops back on. Briefly heat in the oven, and serve on a puddle of Romesco sauce*.

*Romesco sauce is a Spanish sauce that is thickened with toasted almonds and bread - lots of recipes for it out there on the web. I used one with roasted red pepper, onion, garlic, and beef broth, simmered together, and then pureed with toasted almonds.

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