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Very Smart Gravadlax Vol au Vents

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…retro vol au vents which are simple to make, a stunning looker and are totally delish! Prepare to impress!

December 16, 2016

Very Smart Gravadlax Vol au Vents

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Vol au Vents

ingredients for twelve

cured salmon gravadlax

250gm fresh salmon fillet (see notes)
1tsp/3gm black peppercorns
1Tbsp/12gm salt flakes
3tsp/15gm caster sugar
15gm fresh dill sprigs

vol au vent

1pkt Carême Puff Pastry

beetroot filling

175gm beetroot
250ml crème fraiche
1 x small clove garlic
salt and pepper
20gm fresh dill sprigs extra
1 x lemon


  1. Make cure. Crush black peppercorns in mortar with pestle. Stir through salt and sugar. Finely chop dill fronds and stalks. Mix with seasoning.
  2. Pat salmon fillet dry. Place fillet in snap lock bag along with curing mix and evenly coat. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Turn fish every 6 hours or so during this period. Liquid will start to come out of the fish mixing with salt and sugar to create brine, do not discard, simply turn salmon over.
  3. Once salmon is ‘ready’ see notes, remove from bag and rinse briefly under running water to remove majority of cure. Remove skin using very sharp knife.
  4. Finely chop remaining dill and press over fish surface. Cut small, thin slices from fillet on a 45º angle starting at one corner.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 190ºC with top and bottom elements on if possible.
  6. Make vol au vents. Roll Carême pastry to just measure 28cm x 21cm rectangle. Punch out 12 x 8cm discs puff pastry. Indent with 4½cm cutter in centre of each disc. Do not cut all the way through. Place pastry discs on lipped baking sheet and brush pastry lightly with beaten egg. Place cooling rack over top of pastry to ensure an even rise and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden.
  7. When cool enough to handle, remove pastry lid using tip of paring knife. Extract excess soft pastry from the centre, discard lid and excess pastry.
  8. Meanwhile, make beetroot filling. Top, tail then peel beetroot, discard waste. Coarsely grate beetroot flesh then roughly chop. Mix beetroot with crème fraiche, crushed garlic and about half of extra dill sprigs, finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  9. When ready to serve, spoon beetroot mix into vol au vent cases to fill. Roll up a slice or two of salmon and arrange on top of filling.
  10. Arrange on serving platter, squeeze over some lemon juice, scatter serving plate with remaining dill fronds and serve.

cooks notes

  1. All salt used in our recipes is Murray River Salt Flakes, if using granular salt, cut down teaspoon measurements to equal gram weights.
  2. Careme puff pastry can be purchased from the freezer section in many good food stores. See Where to buy Careme pastry for your nearest retailer.
  3. Purchase a piece of salmon of even thickness to brine evenly and give a standard result.
  4. Make sure salmon is super fresh when purchasing. If not freezing, use within a day of purchasing.
  5. Salmon can be consumed between 12 and 48 hours of curing. Less time and the flesh is softer and less intense tasting, longer and the fish firms and the cure flavours become more pronounced.
  6. Once cured the fish can be rinsed and stored for 2 days in the fridge.
  7. This Scandinavian Gravadlax was originally covered in salt to preserve it for the wild and freezing winter ahead and stored under the ground. ‘Lax’ being the Middle English word for salmon and ‘grave’ of course meaning a hole in the ground in which items/coffins are buried (grave also means ‘to dig’).
  8. Serve these vol au vents with ice cold vodka for a fashionable and stylish culinary treat.

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Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

View Tracey’s full profile.

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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