Crab Pithiviers

A delicious crab recipe from food writer & author Elaine Lemm.

Serves 4

  • 200g / 7 oz fresh, white crab meat, squeezed dry
  • 55g / 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled washed and finely grated
  • 25g / 1 oz white breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 750 g / 1 1b 10 oz puff pastry, chilled
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk beaten together
  • 4 tsp sour cream
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped




  1. Begin by preparing the filling. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the, finely chopped shallot, grated carrot and cook gently for approx 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture color, lower the heat if this starts to happen.
  2. After 5 mins, add the crab and cook for a further minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs. Mix well and season to taste with a little salt and pepper and put to one side to cool completely.
  3. Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Then either, cut 4 x 10cm circles and 4 x 12 cm circles (if you want to make individual Pithiviers) or, cut two circles of pastry approx 24 cm and 26 cm for one large Pithivier. Brush the smaller circles of pastry with the beaten egg mixture. If making individual tarts, divide the cold crab meat mixture into four and place one portion onto each of the smaller circles. Sprinkle over fresh coriander. Make a small well in the centre of the filling and fill with soured cream. Place the larger piece of pastry over the first, press around the edges.
  4. Freeze for twenty minutes, or wrap and freeze until required.
  5. When you are ready to cook the Pithivier preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Remove the Pithiviers from the freezer, cut a small round from the centre of each Pithiviers, this is to allow any steam to escape during cooking. Using a sharp knife, score a curved pattern into the top of the pastry taking care not to cut right through! Glaze the pie with the beaten egg.
  6. For the individual Pithiviers, cook in the preheated oven, for 12-15 minutes (or for the large size for 20 – 25 minutes) or until golden brown and well risen. Serve immediately.

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