Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Posh Pie - Potato, Camembert and Pancetta Pithivier

I am a bit of a sucker for a pie, to be honest. And though this has taken a bit of a French turn and the pie has become a pithivier, it does not matter; a tasty mixture encased in golden pastry will always be a winner.

When given the opportunity to cook with Tesco Cypriot New Potatoes, I thought about how I had eaten them in the past. They don't necessarily need much attention, simply steamed with a little butter and some parsley and they are glorious. But I was thinking about what they would go well with, and then thought about a salad I had had with new style potatoes when I was in Normandy. And then I got to thinking about pies again and I kind of came up with this.

So, to France and the reason I discovered the combination of potato and Camembert. I sat down at a little bistro, sipping a cold Chablis and after the perusal of the menu I decided on a warm potato salad, anticipating little potatoes, absorbing a tangy vinaigrette and a green salad. But the menu did not mention the slices of Camembert, which oozed pleasingly on the plate. The combination of potato and warm Camembert was sumptuous.

Fast forward to now. Once I resolved to recreate this delicious salad accompaniment as a pie, for the filling I resolved to gild the lily further by frying off some pancetta once I had boiled, cooled and sliced the potatoes. I also thought that the addition of some fresh thyme would make this even tastier. You could substitute the bacon for onions, for leeks. Maybe sub the Camembert for a piece of Brie. All would compliment the potatoes wonderfully. Wrapping the pastry around the filling is a bit fiddly. It would be a neater job to take two pieces of ready rolled pastry and seal them together around the filling, but whatever you decide to do, do not seal the pastry too tightly around the filling so that you get the ooze as you cut into the pithivier. The potatoes take on the flavours of the bacon and the thyme, and with a salad accompanying this, it makes a tasty satisfying evening meal.

Cypriot New Potatoes are available in Tesco stores right now, until the end of March.

Potato, Camembert and Pancetta Pithivier

Serves two, generously


A Camembert
100g Tesco Cypriot New Potatoes
70g pancetta
Fresh thyme
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry (2 would make a neater job but would result in quite a lot of leftover pastry, which could be used for another recipe)
1 egg, for egg wash.


Boil the potatoes in salted water until just cooked. Drain and leave to cool, then slice into rounds about 1/2 cm thick.

Fry off the pancetta in a little olive oil. Once cooked, leave to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 190c

Take the Camembert and slice it across the middle.

Unroll the pastry and place it onto a work surface. I kept it on the greaseproof paper it came wrapped in.

Place one half of the Camembert on top of the pastry. Brush the surrounding pastry with some beaten egg.

Pile the sliced potato onto the Camembert. Scatter the pancetta over the potatoes and then add some fresh thyme leaves.

Place the top of the Camembert onto the potato/pancetta mixture. It will be precarious!

Bring the pastry up and over/around the Camembert, or if you are using two pieces of pastry, bring the edges together. Seal the edges as neatly and as firmly as possible, cutting off any surplus pastry. Brush the top with egg and season with sea salt and black pepper. Score the top, pithivier style and pierce the top to allow any steam to escape.

Carefully place the pastry onto a baking sheet and place in the middle of the oven. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and puffed up. The pastry will spread in the oven and there might be some oozing of the filling.

Leave to cool slightly, as the filling will be very hot! Serve with a salad.

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