So as the GBBO series 7 start date has FINALLY been announced, we’re looking forward to doing another series of weekly bakes of our own takes on the show’s fiendish challenges. Feeling inspired and excited by this we decided to revisit a bake we didn’t have a chance to do last series, the wonderfully retro Vol Au Vents!!
In our opinion there just aren’t enough vol au vents these days, 30 years ago you couldn’t move for vol au vents, but now you’re hard pressed to find even a single one!! The concept is a simple one, crisp puff pastry shells filled with any manor of delicious mixtures. Our chosen filling is a creamy leek gratin with wholegrain mustard topped with some juicy roast chicken.
Now we could have made our puff pastry, the contestants had to on the show, but as we didn’t have Paul’s icey stare upon us we figured it was far, far easier to just use shop bought. I mean, who even has the time to make the bloody stuff?! (We sure don’t!)
We chose to use the cutting out method of larger circles with a smaller circle indentation in the middle which you then pick out after they’re baked. But you can also roll out the pastry a little thinner and cut out 2 sets of circles, keeping one lot whole and cutting a smaller circle out the middle of the other lot, then sticking the holey ones on top of the whole ones with a little egg wash before you pop them in the oven! Both work fine, just go with whatever you fancy! (sorry if that was a little confusing, too many holes and wholes…)
The flavour combo of these is a pretty classic one, we decided to use roast chicken as we happened to have some on hand (as you do), but if you’re not so fortunate to have freshly roasted chicken just lying about the kitchen, then a single roasted chicken breast will do, or you could even switch it out for thick cut ham… or both….
After making these badboys we have decided it’s about time vol au vents (or vollys as we have been affectionately referring to them as) make a comeback! Feel free to join us in our retro revolution!!
- 3 leeks
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 50ml double cream
- salt & pepper
- 50g cheddar cheese
- 1/2 block puff pastry
- 200g roast chicken
- Heat a pan and melt the butter.
- Chop the leeks into 1cm thick pieces and add to a pan, cook until transparent.
- Stir in the chicken stock pot, mustard and vinegar and seasoning whilst the leeks reduce down,
- Finally add the double cream and warm through, taste and add anymore seasoning or mustard if you feel it needs it, set aside.
- Roll out the puff pastry to 3-4mm thick and cut out circles about 5cm/2" in diameter, we chose to use a fluted pastry cutter as this helps the pastry to puff up straighter.
- With another pastry cutter, slightly smaller than the first one (you want about 0.5cm difference the whole way round) make an indentation that goes almost the whole way through the pastry. We actually ended up using a bottle top for the inner circle as we made our vol au vents adorably small and bitesized but if you want you can make them a little bigger!
- Brush with egg and bake for 20-25 mins, until golden brown and crispy.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 mins, then pick out the central piece of pastry which should leave you with a hollow cylinder in the middle. (you can just eat these bits... we certainly did)
- Warm the leeks through now that your pastry is cooked
- Fill each vol with the leeks and top with some roast chicken.
- Sprinkle over some cracked black pepper and serve!
So there you have it! You can’t really go wrong with these, they’re great as an hors d’oeuvres or part of a buffet, or you could even make them a little bigger and serve as a starter at a dinner party. If you need us to, we can find a reason for these to be present at any occasion…