Savoury Chocolate Vol au Vents and Canapes
The party season is now in full swing and although I rarely buy ready made pastry, these Gourmet Pidy pastry cases make excellent party fare for a time strapped host. Time and thought can go into creating delicious fillings without worrying about making the pastry and then having to shape it suitably. Pidy are a Belgium company that has been making their award winning pastry cases since 1952. They provide a range of interesting pastry forms, but have only recently launched into the home cook’s market. Their products are available via Amazon, delis, farm shops and other independent retailers.
Veggie Cups are an innovative range made with 30% vegetable juice. Because I found these to be particularly intriguing, I decided to try them first. Mine were beetroot flavoured, which gave them a lovely dark pink colour and an interesting flavour, though not particularly identifiable as beetroot. Other flavours in this range are carrot, celeriac and spinach. Apart from the beetroot, the only ingredients were flour, sunflower oil, water, yeast and salt. I was particularly pleased to see the lack of e-numbers as I find that bought pastry often has a number of off-putting and unnecessary additives. As we’d just harvested some of our leeks and I had some mature goats cheese in need of using up, I decided to improvise in my very own version of Ready Steady Cook. Luckily there was some chocolate balsamic in the cupboard.
The spoonettes packed in a box of twelve are really quite adorable. They are slightly larger than a teaspoon and would be perfect for a really indulgent filling. I was going to fill them with a goat’s cheese chocolate ganache for a recent party, but time was not on my side, so I am keeping them for a Christmas appetiser instead. The ingredients for these also made me happy, consisting as they did of flour, sunflower oil, butter, water, salt and sugar. Sadly they didn’t all arrive in one piece and although I haven’t opened the packet yet, I can see at least one spoon that has lost its handle.
I haven’t come across vol au vents in a very long time and I couldn’t repress a little chuckle when I saw them. Mushroom vol au vents are somehow so reminiscent of the 70s, I never thought they would be something I’d end up making. However, I happened to come across a recipe for mushroom and cheese pies over at A Little Piece of Heaven on a Plate, which I found quite appealing. Before I knew what I was doing, I was adapting the recipe and using it to fill the four square vol-au-vent cases I’d been sent. Surprise, surprise, I managed to smuggle some chocolate in.
I wasn’t quite so happy about the ingredients for these pastry cases; they had a fair number of e-numbers and the dreaded palm oil too.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Mushroom Vol au Vents (enough for 8 large cases)
- Melted 30g butter in a medium saucepan over medium to low heat, then sautéed a bunch of chopped spring onions for a few minutes.
- Cleaned and sliced 200g mushrooms, then added them to the pan.
- Added 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and the leaves of 4 sprigs of thyme from the garden. Stirred and left to cook for five minutes.
- Added 2 teaspoons of chocolate balsamic (or 1 tsp balsamic and a square of dark chocolate) and left to simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Added a tbsp double cream and 50g cream cheese along with a good grinding of pepper. Turned off the heat and stirred until the cheese had melted and all was nicely combined.
- Heated four vol-au-vent cases in the oven at 170°C for 5 minutes.
- Cut out the middle square with a sharp knife.
- Filled the cases with the filling and placed the cut out square on top to act as a lid or maybe a jaunty hat.
- Served warm.
Leek, Goats Cheese and Pomegranate Canapés
- Cleaned and sliced a bunch of baby leeks from the garden.
- Sautéed in olive oil over a low heat for about 8 minutes along with a finely chopped clove of garlic.
- Stirred in 2 tsp chocolate balsamic and left to simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Placed a teaspoon of this mixture at the bottom of 12 beetroot pastry cups.
- Topped with a couple of blobs of soft goats cheese.
- Warmed in the oven in order to melt the goats cheese. Sadly I came a cropper here and warmed them for too long at too high a temperature and they got a little burnt around the edges. Five minutes at 170°C would have been fine.
- Added a few pomegranate seeds and served.
As my chocolate mushroom vol-au-vents contained thyme from my garden, I am sending these off to Karen of Lavender and Lovage for her Cooking with Herbs event.
Thanks to the food PR agency CLIP Creative and PR for the Pidy samples. There was no requirement to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are my own.