seafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry startersseafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry starters

Are you feeling the 2020 Christmas and/or Holiday Season spirit yet ? I know what an unusual year it has been for all of us. I wish things had been different but they’re not. But all is not lost. You can try to bring that holiday joy back, even though the preparations for this year’s joys will be limited to smaller numbers and smaller preparations. And on top of that, with lockdown, if you’re partly or fully confined to your homes, you might have more free time to try something new !

SEAFOOD VOL-AU-VENT PUFF-PASTRY STARTERS seem fancy but they’re actually quite easy to make, here in Europe at least, because you can buy the puff-pastry cases and the fillings separately and just assemble them at home or you can make them from scratch, which is kind of fun and will make you proud of your accomplishment. Let’s try to make it all from scratch !

I’ve posted all the 3 separate recipes for make these, from the puff pastry cases (see recipe here) to the seafood stock (see recipe here) and finally the assembled version of a starter with mixed seafood, which is typical in Europe during the winter holidays.

You’ll notice that the photographs of the ingredient quantities seem particularly large, because I always prepare 8 starters and not only 4, but with lockdown and all that, I simply scaled down the recipe quantities for 4 servings which is easier for you to halve to make only 2 or to multiply by 1 ½ to make 6 or double up to make 8, if that’s what you need.

Happy holidays to all ! Take care, stay safe & healthy and I hope to see you all before the end of the year … :)

seafood vol-au-vent puff-pastry starters


4 starters x 240 grams each


mixed seafood & vegetables mixture (400 grams when cooked) :

  • 400 grams (3 ½ cups) mixed seafood, fresh or frozen (shrimps, mussels, squid rings, sliced octopus, etc.)
  • 100 grams (1 ½ cups) mushrooms, sliced
  • 50 grams (¾ cup) leek, sliced
  • 25 grams (3 tbsp) shallot, sliced
  • 12,5 grams (1 ½ tbsp) celery, sliced
  • 5 grams (1 ½ tsp) garlic, crushed
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil or butter (or both)
  • 7,5 grams (1 ½ tsp) sea salt
  • 2,5 grams (1 tbsp) fresh dill (and/or fresh parsley)
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) ground pepper

seafood béchamel/velouté sauce (320 grams when cooked) :

  • 240 ml (1 cup) seafood stock (see recipe & instructions here)
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) liquid from cooked seafood & vegetables
  • 60 grams (¼ cup) crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 17 grams (1 whole medium) egg yolk
  • 12 grams (1 ½ tbsp) flour
  • 22 grams (1 ½ tbsp) butter
  • 5 gram (1 tsp) sea salt
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) ground pepper

vol-au-vent puff-pastry cases (240 grams when assembled & baked) :


vol au vent pastry cases :

  • make ahead (using my recipe & instructions here) and add 1 medium-sized whole cooked shrimp on each cap before baking (or simply use store-bought versions which are usually only half as large and half as heavy so get 8 cases) and reserve on a baking sheet with baking paper 

seafood & vegetables mixture :

  • prepare all the ingredients as listed and set aside and begin by frying up the vegetables until tender at medium-high heat with the olive oil and salt and pepper, then add the seafood and cook until done for several minutes at medium heat, strain to recuperate the liquid or juices and set aside the cooked seafood and vegetable mixture and keep warm (in a slightly warm oven) and covered with a lid or aluminum foil to avoid drying out

seafood béchamel/velouté sauce :

  • *note : if you don’t have any prepared home-made seafood stock, use store-bought stock or make it with the extra shells and carcasses from the seafood ingredients or see my recipe here and adapt it, but you will only need 1 cup total, so save/freeze the rest for later or next year …
  • melt the butter in a casserole at medium-high heat until bubbling, add in the flour and whisk until slightly darker, slowly pour in the liquids and keep whisking at medium-high heat until it thickens (about 5 minutes) and be sure to also use a wooden spoon to scrape up any parts that may stick to the bottom, then add the sour cream or crème fraiche or heavy cream and whisk until smooth and set aside, adjust with salt and pepper

assembly :

  • preheat the oven to 165°C (to keep the assemblies warm before serving)
  • mix all of the cooked seafood and vegetable mixture with half of the seafood béchamel sauce, fill the pastry cases all the way up and add some extra pieces of seafood on top, pour the remaining sauce to fill in any gaps and add the pastry cap on top and keep warm in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving
  • remove from the oven, place each warm assembly onto a plate and serve with a simple salad and fresh herbs.