Fillet of beef en croûte

Fillet of beef en croûte

By
From
How to Cook Pastry
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 piece fillet of beef, from the thick end, about 1.3kg
dash worcestershire sauce, (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
350g Puff pastry
100g chestnut mushrooms
1 garlic clove
1/4 bunch thyme
30g butter
100g good quality smooth chicken liver pate
1 egg, to glaze
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 230ºC.
  2. Trim the fillet and season well with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, if using. Tie with string at 2–3cm intervals to help hold its shape. Heat the olive oil in a roasting tin over a medium to high heat and brown the meat evenly on all sides.
  3. Transfer the meat to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. This will give you rare beef once the fillet is baked within the pastry; for medium allow a further 10 minutes at this early stage; for well done meat allow a further 15 minutes. Remove the fillet from the roasting tin, leave to cool and remove all the string.
  4. Roll out one third of the pastry on a floured board until it is a little more than the length and width of the fillet. Place on a baking sheet, prick all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  5. Wipe and finely chop the mushrooms, peel and crush the garlic; finely chop enough thyme leaves to give 1 tsp. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium to high heat and fry the mushrooms quickly to release and evaporate their liquid. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute; the mixture should be dry. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Mix the mushrooms with the pâté, check the seasoning, then spread over the cooled fillet of beef and place it on the cooked pastry sheet. Cut away any pastry not covered by the fillet.
  7. Roll out the remaining pastry on a floured board until large enough to cover the fillet easily. Lay it gently over the fillet. Lightly press the pastry to the fillet and seal the corners. Cut off any excess pastry at the corners; reserve the trimmings.
  8. With a palette knife, lift the cooked pastry base and tuck the uncooked pastry edge neatly underneath it. Repeat with the other 3 sides. The pastry trimmings can be used to cut strips or leaves to decorate the top. If the pastry is very soft, loosely cover it with cling film and chill the parcel in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking (see note on preparing ahead).
  9. Lightly beat the egg with a small pinch of salt, then pass through a sieve. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, stick any decorations on the pastry, then brush again with egg.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20–30 minutes, or until the pastry is dark brown and shiny. Remove and leave to rest for 15–20 minutes before carving.

A note on preparing ahead...

  • You can prepare this in advance up to the end of stage 8, prior to glazing. Loosely cover with cling film and place in the fridge until ready to cook.

Enveloping the beef in crêpes...

  • Traditionally, crêpes are wrapped around the beef fillet and pâté before encasing in pastry to help to keep the pastry crisp. If you do this, wrap in a single layer of crêpes, trimming as necessary to ensure minimal overlap.
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