Wild mushroom, spinach and goat's cheese vol-au-vents with poached duck egg and pimento cream

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Mark Dodson's delightful take on vol-au-vents combines wild mushrooms, spinach, goat's cheese – Vulscombe if available – with a gorgeous pimento cream, topped with a poached duck egg. Perfect as a vegetarian starter for any dinner party.

First published in 2015




Wild mushroom vol-au-vents

Pimento cream



  • Blender
  • Fine chinoise


To make the vol-au-vents, preheat the oven to 175˚C/gas mark 3 and bake the puff pastry circles for 12–14 minutes until golden brown. Remove and keep in a warm dry place
  • 4 puff pastry
While the puff pastry is cooking, add a layer of oil to a large frying pan on a medium. When the pan is hot, sauté the mushrooms until golden, add the baby spinach and cook until wilted
Remove the pan from the heat and add the goat's cheese while the contents are still warm. Season to taste and set aside to cool
  • 80g of vulscombe goat's cheese
  • salt to season
To make the pimento cream, sweat the shallots and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent. Add three quarters of the diced red pepper and cook until soft. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Blend, season and pass through a fine strainer. Return to the pot for reheating later
For the vol-au-vents, hollow out the centre of the puff pastry circles by gently breaking through with a spoon. Spoon in even amounts of the mushroom goat's cheese mix and return to the oven for 5 minutes at 170˚C/gas mark 3
While the vol-au-vents are heating through, bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil and poach the duck eggs for 3 minutes. Sauté the remaining diced red pepper in a little olive oil and set aside
To serve, place a vol-au-vent in the middle of each plate and sprinkle the red pepper around the tart. Place the poached duck egg on top of the tart, cover with the warm pimento sauce and finish with a sprinkle of chives and fresh rocket

Mark Dodson speaks the language of comfort food with Shakespearean fluency, turning perfectly formed elements into down-to-earth (but heavenly) compositions.

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