How to make vol-au-vents

How to make vol-au-vents

Vol-au-vent translates into English as ‘waft of air’ as these tasty little canapés are light and eaten in a second. Often associated with 80s dinner parties along with the Black Forest gâteau, we think the vol-au-vent is due for a revival.

  • 500g of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5
Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1cm
Using a fluted 6cm pastry cutter, cut out circles of pastry
Using a 4cm round pastry cutter, make an indentation in the middle of the pastry circles but don’t press down hard enough to cut through. Prick this inner circle with a fork several times
Place the circles on baking tray lined with baking paper
Brush the outer ring of pastry with the beaten egg
Cook the vol-au-vents in the oven for 12–15 minutes until risen and golden brown
Leave to cool completely before filling


The vol-au-vents can be made with larger cutters for starter-sized portions. If you don’t have pastry cutters, the vol-au-vents will also work as squares or rectangles.

If you want to serve your vol-au-vents with a lid on, don’t prick the inner circle with a fork but brush it with egg wash. The inner circle will then rise like the outer ring and can be lifted off carefully and placed on top of the filling.

Serving Suggestions

Vol-au-vents are best known for being filled with a creamy mushroom or salmon filling, but your flavour need not be restricted to the 1980s. Mark Dodson serves Wild mushroom, spinach and goat's cheese vol-au-vents with poached duck egg and pimento and Colin McGurran opts for a simple sausage and marmalade in his vol-au-vents.

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