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An old favourite- vol au vent

How to make cases and filling.

Of course you can buy ready made vol au vent cases, and fill them yourself with your favourite filing. However as things are rather scarce at this time, I could not find my favourite French vol au vents, so I thought for a minute, then was inspired, I bought a 500g block of locally made PUFF PASTRY. Once home, I searched the web and came up with a very good method. Keeping fingers crossed and following carefully I made 6 large cases. I prepared our favourite filling with the last of the left over chicken(!) and baked them. They were to say the least DELICIOUS, far far better than any I have previously bought!

So I thought I would share the recipe with you, and on a quiet morning, go for it, its a winner!

So you need

500g puff pastry defrosted

1 egg yolk

a baking tray , two cutters 10cm and 6cm

another heavy baking tray and four ovenproof small round containers (height 5 or 6 cm)

Roll out your puff pastry to a thickness of 4 or 5 mm.

with your larger cutter, cut out 12 circles

place 6 of these on your prepared oven tray

beat together your egg yolk and a little water. brush this over the circles.

Now with the other 6 circles, using the smaller cutter, cut out the centre of each disc. you now have 6 pastry rings. Put these rings on top of the circles on the baking tray. They will adhere easily because of the egg wash.Glaze these too with the egg.

Put into fridge for two hours.

Take out of the fridge and apply more egg wash along the rings.

Put 4 ovenproof ramekins or similar (height 5 or 6 cm)in the 4 corners of the baking sheet - this will help control the rise of the puff pastry while baking! On top of this, put a heavy baking sheet and put into a pre-heated fan oven at 170c for 25 minutes, by which time the pastry cases would have risen to a regular height.Remove the top baking sheet and bake for as further10 minutes. Check that the pastry cases are cooked underneath, then take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Prepare the filling.

With 100g butter and three tablespoons of flour or cornflour, and 200ml milk make a thick béchamel, adding salt and pepper, quarter of a chicken cube (optional), some chopped parsley, and a pinch of nutmeg.,

Into this, mix in your leftover chicken and some chopped ham (200g) a few cooked peas and a few cooked mushrooms. When all mixed well, add two tablespoons of a mild hard cheese, set aside.

When both pastry cases and filling are cooked, carefully take a small sharp knife and cut round the inner tops of the vol au vents. Fill the centres with your prepared béchamel and chicken mix. put the tops back on, and return to the hot oven for about 15 minutes till the filling is bubbling and pastry hot.

Serve with your favourite salad. Well worth the effort!


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