Right up there with mini cocktail sausages and cheese and pineapple chunks on sticks, vol-au-vents are the epitome of 1970s retro chic when it comes to party food.
What I love most about vol-au-vents is the fact they are so easy and yet so classy – from the Ferrero Rocher meets Abigail’s Party school of classiness, of course. I’m sure it would be fairly simple to make your own vol-au-vent cases, if you felt so inclined. At least this recipe on BBC Food looks pretty straight forward.
However when it comes to catering for Christmas parties, I do tend to cut corners wherever possible, and so I was delighted to discover these new vol-au-vent puff pastry cases from Jus-Rol. Simply take them out of the freezer, pop them on a tray and bake for 15 minutes. And there they are, all ready to receive your delicious fillings.
These five fillings are ridiculously simple but very, very tasty. What’s more, they’re all-round crowd-pleasers; children and adults alike are guaranteed to tuck right in.
Each of these recipes will fill four to five vol-au-vent cases. Simply scale up as required.
Cherry tomato, black olive and cream cheese
4 pitted black olives, chopped
4 tbsp cream cheese
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
small bunch of fresh basil
Spoon a tablespoonful of cream cheese into each pastry case. Top with pieces of olive, cherry tomato and torn basil leaves.
Ham and curried egg mayo
2 medium free-range eggs
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1-2 tsp curry paste
1 or 2 thick slices of good ham, roughly chopped
Boil the eggs for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to cool. Shell the eggs and roughly chop.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yoghurt and curry paste. Then carefully stir in the ham and egg.
Spoon the mixture into the pastry cases.
Chicken and grapes with yoghurt
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 or 3 thick slices of cold roast chicken
small handful of white grapes, quartered
salt and pepper
Mix together the yoghurt and mustard with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Roughly shred the chicken and stir into the yoghurt mixture, along with the grapes. Season to taste.
Spoon into the pastry cases.
Smoked salmon with soured cream and pickled beetroot
4 tbsp soured cream
1 or 2 slices smoked salmon, sliced into small slivers
a few slices of pickled beetroot
Spoon a tablespoonful of soured cream into each case and top with salmon and pickled beetroot and a grind of black pepper.
Cinnamon apple with yoghurt and honey
I love a sweet vol-au-vent. In the summer, strawberries and whipped cream works well.
1 tbsp butter
1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
Gently heat the butter in a small pan and when it’s melted add the apple and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Give it all a good stir and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes until the apple is soft but not disintegrating.
Spoon a tablespoonful of yoghurt into each case. Top with a spoonful of buttery apple and drizzle with honey.
Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Jus-Rol products to allow me to develop these recipes. No money exchanged hands and all opinions expressed are my own.