Roasted Vegetable, Pesto and Mozzarella Pithivier
Pithivier is really just a fancy French word for a pie, however it is especially pretty as it is free form and baked without a dish. This makes it the perfect centre piece for a lunch or dinner party as it is easy to serve. The trick with pastry is to always keep it as cool as possible and to handle it the least you can. Don’t fear precision too much, this pie is just as beautiful when rustically made!
350g pumpkin, sliced into 1cm thick slices
350g sweet potato, sliced into 1cm rounds
150g waxy potato (around one medium one) sliced into 1cm rounds
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
100g cavolo nero or chard, shredded
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest of one lemon
1 ball of fresh mozzarella (120g), sliced into rounds
1/3 cup homemade or good quality pesto
freshly ground pepper and salt flakes
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 sheets of all butter puff pastry (I like to use Careme, you will only need one in that case)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds.
Preheat your oven to 200C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Evenly lay out the slices of pumpkin, sweet potato and potato, scatter over the cherry tomatoes and give everything a good dousing of 2/3 of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for around 25 minutes until the vegetables and tomatoes are soft and caramelised. Allow to cool.
In a small frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil, garlic and lemon zest. Add the cavolo nero and sauté until soft, adding seasoning. Also leave to cool.
Take your pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw. Once pliable, trace around a 25cm round plate on one sheet of pastry and then around a 30cm size plate on the other.
On a baking tray lined with baking paper place the smaller circle of pastry. Top with half of the pesto. Begin to layer the vegetables starting with the pumpkin, then a ring of the potato. Fill the centre with roasted tomato and then a layer of mozzarella. Top with the sautéed cavolo nero and top with remaining roasted vegetables, pesto and mozzarella, building a dome with the ingredients as you go.
Top with the larger of the pastry circles, sealing the two together with a light brush of the beaten egg. Smooth over the dome with your hands and press the two circles together with a fork. transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for 30. Once chilled, take a small knife and gently score lines running rom the centre of the dome outwards. Brush the whole pie with egg wash and sprinkle the edges with poppy seeds. Turn the oven down to 180C and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden a crisp. Serve immediately for gooey cheese and flakey, buttery pastry.