After the success of my first Daring Cooks Challenge I was eager to get cracking on the next one, so was crestfallen when I discovered it was Beef Wellington and/or Salmon en Croute as I dislike both, having eaten more than my fair share of tragic versions in the past. Upon re-reading the challenge guidelines I discovered the aim was actually to cook with pastry so I have chosen to make these savoury pithiviers (fancy french name for round, egg-washed puff pastry parcels). I was pleased with how prettily they turned out, and even more pleased that I didn’t have to skip this month’s DC challenge!
You won’t need much filling to pastry, so it’s a wonderful way to use up leftovers (as I have done here with roast chicken) and you can easily tweak it to your taste (or what you have in the fridge!) – perhaps a wild mushroom with blue cheese, or sun-dried tomatoes and goats cheese – the possibilities are endless. It’s also versatile when it comes to presentation – you can also serve it as a starter, main, or even a canape just by varying the size of your parcels.
2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
1 cup, shredded chicken (cooked)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
100g cheddar (1 cup), grated
6 tbsp double cream
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 200°C (392°F).
Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Fry the red onions until tender, then pour off any excess oil from the pan. Add the shredded chicken and garlic, stirring until heated through. Mix in the cream and cheddar, turning off the heat once well incorporated. Season to taste and leave the mixture to cool.
Mix together the beaten egg and milk to form an egg wash.
Cut 16 discs out of the puff pastry sheets (I used a 10cm ring) and put heaped spoonfuls, the size of a gold ball, of the cooled filling onto the centre of half of the discs. Make sure you leave a border around the edge of at least 1cm. Egg wash the borders and place the remaining discs over each, crimping the edges to seal. Score the tops and decorate with remaining pastry if you desire, then brush with egg wash. Place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
Bake the pastries in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and golden. Let them cool slightly before serving.