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French Pithiviers Cake with Almonds

Servings: 5-6

Definition: [pee-tee-VYAY] Taking its name from the French town of Pithiviers, this classic French "cake" is composed of an almond cream (frangipane) encased between two puff pastry rounds.

Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron's Educational Series, from The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

"The cake must be served at the end of a good meal".....Philippe

For Pastry:
500 g (1 lb) puff pastry, defrosted if frozen

For Almond Cream:
7 ounces finely ground almonds, (or ready-made finely ground almond powder)
7 ounces icing (confectioners') sugar
7 ounces sweet (unsalted) butter, melted
5 whole eggs
2 tablespoons cream of rice cereal
1 tablespoon rum or madeira wine

For Icing:
7 ounces icing (confectioners') sugar
1 egg white, beaten

Preserved Cherries

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 F). You will need a large baking sheet or cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.

For The Almond Cream:
In a large bowl, mix together the finely ground almond powder and the icing sugar. Combine well. Add the whole eggs one by one, mixing carefully. Add the melted butter. Mix in the 2 spoonfuls of cream of rice into your mixture and add the 1 tablespoon of rum (or madeira wine). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.

For The Pastry:
Roll out the puff pastry to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut one 9-inch circle and one 11-inch circle. Place the smaller circle on parchment paper on your baking sheet. Spread the almond cream in the center, leaving the outer 2 inches of the circle clean. Cover with the larger circle and lightly press down the edges.

Using the dull edge of a paring knife, press it against the sides of the Pithivier to seal. Decorate the top by lightly cutting from the center moving towards the edge in half circles, leaving about 1/2-inch spaces between the cuts. Use a sharp knife to pierce a 1/2-inch slit in the top layer at the center of the almond cream mound. This will allow steam to escape during baking.

Place cake in preheated 180 degrees C (350 F) oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove cake from oven, and let cool in baking pan for 15-20 minutes. Place cake onto cooling rack and cool completely.

To Prepare The Icing: (optional)
Beat the egg white. Gently fold icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) into beaten egg white. Spread icing over all of cake.

Set oven to broil, or grill.
Place cake in oven again (under grill or broiler), and let top brown for a few minutes. Watch carefully so cake doesn't get too brown or burn.

Remove cake from oven.

Decorate with preserved cherries if desired.

Now your cake is ready!

Makes 5-6 servings.

Source: An old recipe from my mother
Submitted By: Philippe Raynaud
Date: 8 th April 2003