For the pastry:
For the pastry cream:
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Cut one large 26cm circle from each sheet of puff pastry and cut a small 15cm circle from the centre of each circle - you should have two rings of pastry***. Turn each ring of pastry over (this will help limit the rise) and place each on a paper lined tray, then brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top of one of the circles. To the other tray with the second ring, place metal cookie cutters of equal height on the corners of the tray and then place another baking tray on top of the cookie cutters (to control the pastry lift). Bake in oven for 15-20 mins until golden, then set aside to cool completely.
*For the pistachio paste:
- Bring 400ml of the milk (reserve 100ml) to a gentle simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. In a separate heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale. Add the cornflour and the remaining cold milk and whisk to combine. Pour in the hot milk, whisking continuously. Heat mixture in a clean saucepan over medium heat, whisking vigorously until thickened, then bring to the boil (4-5 mins).
- Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with cling wrap ensuring it comes into contact with the surface of the custard, refrigerate for 1 hour to cool.
- In a large bowl, place butter and pistachio paste* and whip until blended and creamy. Add the cooled custard and whip on high speed until cream is glossy and stable. Transfer to a pastry bag with a French piping tip and pipe onto the base of the cooled puff pastry ring base in a circular motion. Add fresh raspberries and top with the almond encrusted puff pastry sheet.
- Blanch pistachios in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes until softened. Drain and rub with a tea towel until all the skins have been removed. Discard skins and transfer pistachios to a large metal mixing bowl.
- Combine water and caster sugar in a saucepan and boil, without stirring, until the syrup just starts to turn golden (about 4-5 minutes). Pour over the pistachios and mix rapidly with a spatula until the mixture cools and the sugar crystallizes, coating the pistachios.
- Transfer to a powerful food processor/blender then add almond meal and almond extract. Blend for a few minutes until the mixture turns from a chopped and grainy consistency to a paste-like consistency. If the mixture is too thick, you can use an immersion blender (stick blender) to make the paste looser.
- *** You can use the two centre circles of leftover pastry to make a small pithivier or hand pie: see our recipe for Mushroom, Ham & Camembert Pithivier for details.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.
NOTE: If making to serve on Christmas day, some of the components can be prepared ahead of time. Make the pistachio paste up to 3 days beforehand and store in an air-tight container. The pastry cream can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator. Ideally, bake the pastry on the day of serving or the day before and store in an airtight container. Complete step 5 of the recipe on the day of serving. Assemble just before serving.
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