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Vols au Vent

Preparation time 20-25 minutes,
Cooking time 25 minutes,
Oven temperature 220°C, 425°F, gas 7 200°C, 400°F, gas 6,
Calories 340 per vol-au-vent

ingredients

makes 12
2 (368 g (13 oz) packets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
beaten egg to glaze

for the fillings

3/4 quantity white sauce (see below)
50 g (2 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
50 g (2 oz) cooked ham, diced
100 g (4 oz) peeled cooked prawns
1 tablespoon lemon juice
50 g (2 oz) sliced cooked mushrooms
100 g (4 oz) cooked chicken, diced
1 tablespoon dry sherry
salt and pepper

method

1. Roll out the pastry to 5 mm (1/4 in) thickness and stamp out 24 circles using a 7.5 cm (3 in) plain cutter.
Transfer 12 circles to a greased baking tray, prick with a fork and brush with beaten egg. Using a 5 cm (2 in) cutter, cutout the centres of the remaining circles.

2. Lift the rings carefully on to the bases, press down firmly. Glaze the cases and bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes, then reduce to moderately hot for a further 10 minutes.

3. Divide the sauce into three; add the Cheddar and ham to one third, the prawns and lemon juice to another, and the mushrooms, chicken, sherry and seasoning to the final third. Fill the vol-au-vent cases. Reheat in a hot oven before serving, garnishing as illustrated if you like.

To use pastry cutters successfully for clean shapes, have a small patch of flour near and dip the cutter in it each time it is used.

For the white sauce
50 g (2 oz) butter or margarine
50 g (2 oz) plain flour
600 ml (1 pint) milk
salt and pepper

For the white sauce, melt the butter or margarine over a low heat. Add the flour, cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then gradually add the milk and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Add the seasoning.

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