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Broccoli and Stilton boxes

With the retro food revival and it still being vegetanuary, how about making a plateful of super tasty vol au vents? Dark green broccoli nestling in a creamy Stilton sauce encased in light crumbly puff pastry - divine. I hope you like them as much as we do. Shop bought puff pastry makes this an easy one to put together and it can be made and stored in the fridge and then heated up in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Made a bit larger (using bigger cutters) they can also be served as a starter with a small salad on the side.

Ingredients - makes 25

1 sheet ready made puff pastry

1 egg

1 tbs milk

25g broccoli spears (just the top part - leave the thicker stalks out)

50g finely chopped shallots

2.5 tbs creme fraiche

20g Stilton

1 tsp finely chopped tarragon

A splash of vegetable oil

2 tbs roughly chopped pine nuts

Rectangular pastry cutters, mine were 4cm x 3cm and 3.5cm x 2.5 (or make templates to cut around)


Heat oven to 190°

Cut out 25 rectangles of pastry with the larger cutter. Using the smaller cutter, make an imprint on each pastry rectangle (this will give the outline for the lid of the vol au vent). Beat the egg with the milk and carefully brush a little over the top of each piece of pastry. See picture:

While the cases are cooking, start with the filling. Steam the broccoli tips for 2 minutes so that they still have a bite to them. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking and then pat dry with kitchen paper.

Reserve 25 tiny florets for the decoration and chop the rest, to a size that will easily fit into the pastry cases. Set aside.

Soften the finely chopped shallot in the oil. Mix in the creme fraiche, Stilton, tarragon and chopped broccoli. Cool.

When the pastry comes out of the oven, carefully cut out the rectangle lids and reserve. Scoop out as much of the soft inside of the cases as possible, taking care not to break them.

Sprinkle a few chopped pine nuts inside and then pile in as much of the broccoli filling as possible. They need to be well filled.

Store in the fridge till required.

Reheat on a baking sheet in a preheated oven (190°) for 5 minutes.

It's purely optional, but they look as good as they taste if you then plant a tiny broccoli floret in one corner and put a pastry lid at an angle.

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