You can fill vol-au-vent pastry cases with just about anything, but this seafood, dill and onion bechamel is certainly one to try.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (16 votes)


  • 2 sheets butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 125 ml (½ cup) white wine
  • 20 g butter
  • 400 g marinara mix
  • 4 extra-large raw prawns, shelled, intestinal tracts removed, tails left intact
  • 150 ml thickened cream
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Onion bechamel

  • 2 garlic cloves, bruised
  • ½ onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) milk
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Serves 4 as a starter

  1. Preheat the oven to 220˚C. Cut a large circle from each sheet of pastry using a plate the same width of the pastry as a guide. Place another plate about 2 cm in diameter smaller on one sheet and cut a circle from that. Place the larger circle on a lined baking tray and place the ring of pastry over the full circle. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes or until risen and golden. Trim away the pastry from the centre of the vol au vent leaving a thin base. Transfer to a serving plate and reserve the pastry top.
  2. Meanwhile, for the bechamel, place the garlic, onion, bay leaf and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat. In a separate saucepan, fry the butter and flour together over medium heat, stirring to form a blond roux. Stirring continuously, strain in the milk a little at a time and simmer until a thick, smooth white sauce forms, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring the wine to a simmer in a large, deep frying pan and reduce by half. Add the butter and the seafood and poach until starting to cook. Add the cream, bechamel and fish sauce and mix well. Bring to a simmer so that the seafood cooks through, then stir through the dill. Pour the seafood into the vol au vent case and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.