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Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - luvnit - 09-25-2007

Years and years ago when I was 13 years old, I cooked my first 'gourmet' meal for my family. I made Beef Wellington, steamed asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and a Baked Alaska for dessert. During my teens I made variations of this dish using meatloaf and called it Meatloaf Wellington. I even made indivual Wellingtons of sorts.

Anyway, now let's talk about my mother [no this is not a therapy session]. My mother the 'Grand Substitution Queen'. In my 20's and 30's I discovered that some of the dishes she made for us were NOTHING like the actual recipe. I once gave her this poem I found in a church cookbook.

Best Recipe

I didn't have potatoes
so I substituted rice.

I didn't have paprika
so I used another spice.

I didn't have tomato sauce,
I used tomato paste;

A whole can, not half a can
I don't believe in waste.

A friend gave me the recipe
she said you couldn't beat it.

There must be something wrong with her
I couldn't even eat it!

~Author Unknown

Anyway, back to my story and question. I guess I thought I had worked with Puff Pastry before and we just had all this talk and recipes with Puff Pastry. I made a beef pot pie the other day with a leftover roast I had. I sent my hubby to the store for some items and had him pick up a puff pastry.

My beef pot pie turned out wonderful, I even put a little balsamic in the gravy, so the flavor really popped! But my thought went right back to my childhood and my mother's words when I asked her, "I want to make this mom, what is a puff pastry?" Her response, "Oh it's just pie crust."

I questioned her about it today. Her response was, "Well, ingredients like that were not available back in the 1950's." We all know this cannot be true if this recipe was named after the 1st Duke of Wellington, he reigned in the 1830's.

So my question is this:

When you are making Beef Wellington or Filet de Boeuf en Croûte can a pie crust be used interchangeably? Is it the same dish?

Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - Roxanne 21 - 09-25-2007

IMHO-----puff pastry is more delicate and has layers that a pie crust does not have. I cannot imagine a Beef Wellington with anything other than a puff!!!

That would be a very different result----stay with the puff!!!

Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - pjcooks - 09-25-2007

Laura, I love that poem! The only thing that is left out is "well, my oven temp is set a 350 but it goes back and forth between 300 and 400"

Puff pastry, absolutely. You reminded me of something. When I was little, my Mom would pan fry tenderloin steaks, and when done, add water to the (cast iron) skillet to make a "juice". She didn't know until I told her she was deglazing, she always wondered what deglazing was!

I hope she leaves me her cast iron skillet, it was her grandmother's (and my Mom is 66) and is just like satin.


Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - Lorraine - 09-26-2007

" I hope she leaves me her cast iron skillet, it was her grandmother's (and my Mom is 66) and is just like satin.

I don't care who my Mother leaves them to, I've told the family they are MINE!!!!! My Grandmother had them on the farm, she died at 107, and has been dead for about 30 years. Proof that a well loved for cast iron pan lives forever!

Back to the question. I've always used puff pastry on Wellington's. If I'm doing pot pies, then I'll use either one.

Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - cjs - 09-26-2007

Your mom is right Laura, I made Beef Wellington in the early 60s and we had to make our own puff pastry. Julia Child came along with her recipe for puff pastry right about that time (the Mastering book) and that's what I used.

En croute just means ‘in crust’ – and can be anything from bread to pastry to puff pastry. The accepted ‘beef Wellington’ (be it with tenderloin or meatloaf) is made with puff pastry. It holds up better to this manner of cooking I think, than regular pastry. And to add to the confusion even more, if I remember correctly mealy pastry crust holds up better than _________ pastry crust – geez, I just lost my mind and can’t think of the other pastry name…’s hell to get old.

That poem is my life story!!! How funny. (except for the last line )

P.S. I just hiccupped and remembered!! Flakey and mealy pie crusts!!! Chef Bui would be so proud.

Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - luvnit - 09-26-2007

That poem is one of my favorites! I gives me a chuckle every time.

One day my mother told me she was coming to my new apartment to help me unpack and was bringing Shrimp Strata! I was thrilled. I love shrimp and eggs. Okay, here what she showed up with.

My Mom's Shrimp Strata Substitution Recipe

Shrimp = ham, WAIT, no ham = cut up hot dogs
Aspargus = 1 can of french cut green beans
Top with french bread rounds = old wheat bread on the counter

Several Eggs to mix with milk to soak up French Bread rounds on top of strata = Still not enough eggs = Make dish anyway, it will be fine.

Of course we still laugh about it to this day, at least I do. But I was VERY disappointed when she got to my apartment and baked this aweful hotdog, green bean concoction. The wheat bread just curled up on top and kinda burned while waiting for the less-than-ample egg-milk mixture to setup. Obviously, I will never forget it.

Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - pjcooks - 09-26-2007



Re: Beef Wellington - Pie Crust or Puff Pastry - Mare749 - 09-26-2007

Laura, what a cute story! It sounds like your mom came from the old school of "make do" with what you've got. My mom used to say that a lot when we were kids.