I have had a craving for Beef Wellington for some time now. I haven’t made it in many, many years and certainly not since I went gluten free. I have never been happy with my pastry recipe, so I decided to try and buy some at one of the two local gluten free bakeries. They were both out, but Sue, of Sue’s Gluten Free Bakery, warned me that she had made several unsuccessful attempts. Not to be deterred, I decided to tackle the project in my own innovative way.
First I turned to my favourite gluten free author, Rebecca Reilly “Gluten Free Baking” – Simon & Schuster. She has an excellent recipe for flaky pastry. I had to improvise a bit because I didn’t have any potato starch, but it was the starting point for this cooking adventure. Fortunately, the pastry turned out perfectly! (I must caution you. I have never made pastry successfully in my life – be it in traditional cooking or gluten free. My second attempt, for butter tarts, was a total failure, although my family continues to bravely eat the butter tarts, exclaiming “They’re delicious!”, I know, in my heart of hearts, the pastry is tough and not very flaky, in comparison to the first batch! Hopefully, my next pastry will be better, as I do know where I went wrong.)
You will need a basic GF flour mixture. I used -
Gluten Free Flour Mixture:
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ cups GF flour mixture
3 Tbsp sweet rice flour
Pinch of salt
9 Tbsp cold, regular butter
1 extra large or jumbo egg
1 ½ Tbsp vinegar
Combine the dry ingredients. Mix well. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it becomes the consistency of almond meal. Turn out onto the counter top. Make a well in the middle. Break the egg into the centre and pour the vinegar on top. Using a fork and a stirring motion, gradually work the egg and vinegar into the flour. When it is just incorporated, use your hands to form it into a ball. Handle the dough as little as possible. If the dough is too soft you can chill it, or simply roll it out into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. I used a bit of the left over flour and rolled it directly on my granite counter tops. It was easy to work with.
Use a large glass or cookie cutter to cut circles of dough about the same size or slightly larger than the fillets of beef. I made 10 pastry discs from this recipe. Prick them with a fork and bake them at 400F on a parchment covered cookie sheet for 12 to 14 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Set on a cookie rack to cool. I made these in advance and stored them in a cookie tin lined with parchment paper until the next day.
I was able to purchase some duck pate with truffles. I cut it into thin slices and cooked it with the fillet: more about that later.
1 cup mixed dried mushrooms
6 medium sized cremeni mushrooms
2 – 3 Tbsp of cognac or Madeira
A pinch of dehydrated beef bouillon
2 tsp butter
I used about 1 cup of mixed dried mushrooms. I rehydrated them in 1 cup of hot water. Using a tip from Julia Child, I set the mushrooms aside after the soaking, and cooked down the soaking liquid until it was a syrup. I added a bit of cognac and a pinch of crumbled beef bouillon cube to the syrup. I finely chopped 6 fresh cremeni mushrooms and added them to the rehydrated mixed mushrooms which I had also diced. I placed about 2 tsp of butter in a pan and sautéed the mushrooms in the syrup until they were just cooked. I set this aside. They can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator, over night and reheated just before being used.
5 – 1 ½ inch or 4 cm thick fillet mignon steaks
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cognac
Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. Place the olive oil and butter in a large, hot frying pan. Add a pinch salt and pepper to each fillet. Place them in the hot frying pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cognac to the pan. Turn the fillets over and place a slice of the duck pate on top of each one. Cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes. I cooked mine for 4 minutes because I like my beef more on the rare to medium rare side. Reheat the mushroom mixture if necessary.
To assemble, place a pastry disc on each plate. Place one cooked fillet with the pate on top, on each pastry disc. Add one to two spoonfuls of the mushroom mixture on top of the pate and fillet. Top the stacks with the final pastry rounds. Place the plates in the hot over for 5 minutes. (I used this time to steam my asparagus and finish my potatoes.)
Finish plating by adding your side dishes and serve hot. My fillet mignon was full medium rare.
This was our New Year’s Day celebration dinner. The stacked approach to creating gluten free Beef Wellington worked perfectly! The pastry was light and flaky. The juices soaked into the botton crust just enough to add the flavour associated with the dish. I served my chocolate and raspberry torte after the main course, with coffee and Framboise, a raspberry flavoured fortified wine. It was flavourful, decedent and truly a joy to share this meal with my family. What a great way to start a new year!