I decided to start this website when I wanted to write about the things I do, cook, eat and the countries I travel to. Since then, I’ve hardly ever cooked anything inspired by my travels, and it is about time to change this.
The recipe for goats cheese vol-au-vent is a nod to my holiday in the Dordogne valley, and a wave to the friends I made there. One of the restaurants that impressed me was a family run business, where the owner served the food himself in a very relaxed manner, and the chef was the soul of the place. Everything was run in a sort of mutual-understanding way, not a lot of talking or shouting in the kitchen.
One of the starters we had there was a goats cheese pissaladière tart served next to lettuces drizzled with blackberry vinaigrette and a hint of honey.
My version of it is a vol-au-vent, brushed with Sherry vinegar, filled with creamed goats cheese, topped with walnuts and drizzled with honey. The walnuts are famous and very loved in the Periogot area in the Dordogne, just as much as the truffles are.
250g puff pastry
200g goats cheese
15ml double cream
4 tbsp vinegar
walnuts, halves (one half for each vol-au-vent)
2 tbsp runny honey
Make the vol-au-vent
Roll out the puff pastry to a thickness of 6-7mm. Get two pastry rings, 2 different sizes, maybe just one size smaller than the other.
With the larger pastry cutter, cut out 8 pieces of round pastry. Divide the quantity into two. Using the smaller cutter, cut 4 of them again but on this occasion, keep the outer ring of pastry.
Place the smaller outer ring of pastry on top of the inner ring of the remaining 4 larger pieces of pastry. Prick the bottom pastry with a fork.
Whisk a little beaten egg mixed with a pinch of salt and brush over the top of the cases, making sure not to cover the sides. This would prevent the pastry from rising up evenly.
If you have any pastry left, repeat the above process.
Bake in the oven at 200C for 10-12 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Allow to cool completely.
Brush the inside of each case with a little Sherry vinegar. Whisk the cheese with the double cream to a mousse. Pipe the mouse in the pastry cases. Decorate with one walnut half and drizzle with a little honey.
Serve as canapés or add a green leaves salad for a stunning looking starter.