“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Snacks „
Whenever I throw a party I make my own vol-au-vents and stuff them full of luxury fillings such as crabmeat and avacado, brie and bacon or creamed mushrooms. This New Year however it was just going to be me and my granddaughters' as I was having them on New Years Eve so that my daughter and son in law could go out and let their hair down, I decided at the last minute to put on a spread for the run up to midnight but honestly could not face cooking so went out and spent a fortune on party food which just needed cooking through and putting on the table with no messing around. Call me lazy, but I feel it in this horrible cold weather and make no excuses for it!
Of course, a buffet isn't a buffet without vol-au-vents but as I'm the only one who likes them I decided to just buy a cheap pack of these which I've already tried before as I knew I liked them and I also know they keep well overnight if I couldn't manage a whole box to myself!
The thing which sets these vol-au-vents apart from my own home made ones is the shape, these are square whereas most home made vol-au-vents you will eat will be circular. You get twelve vol-au-vents in each box, six of each Gruyere & Smoked Ham and Creamy Mushroom.
They are a nice size, larger than I would make personally but who cares about that when they are as tasty as these vol-au-vents? The puff pastry cases do not rise very well unfortunately and they stay rather pale even after cooking for longer that stated on the packet, but I couldn't have left them any longer because the fillings were starting to bubble worryingly! This makes no difference though as it's such a light tasting pastry that the fact they are not browned doesn't hinder the flavour at all, the softness of the pastry I think makes the fillings seem all the more creamy and delicious.
The Gruyere & Smoked Ham variety is very tasty, it has a rich cheese flavour which is strongly infused with the flavour of the smoked ham. The smokiness actually overpowers the entire vol-au-vent and personally I think it's excellent, although my daughter is not a fan of smoked foods and she found it much too strong a flavour. There are small pieces of ham inside the thick cheese filling which are a nice change of texture, although don't add much flavourwise to the snack apart from the smoked aspect.
The Creamy Mushroom vol-au-vents are the best though. The filling tastes very similar to Heinz Cream of Mushroom soup, only with a fresher and more intense flavour. The filling is fairly thick with an almost solid consistency, it clings to the soft pastry case which gives a lovely depth of flavour to the vol-au-vent. I make a creamed mushroon vol-au-vent myself and as far as taste goes this is at least it's equivalent and possibly better, if not a little synthetic tasting.
Each vol-au-vent contains 130 calories and 8.7g of fat which isn't great as they're only small and it's easy to eat a good few of them, they're not greasy tasting really though so presumably most of the fat content comes from the richness of the fillings. A box of twelve vol-au-vents costs £2 from Sainsbury's or can be bought as part of their '3 for £5' offer on frozen party foods.