Traditional Beef Wellington - Carême Pastry

Traditional Beef Wellington

Traditional Beef Wellington is the ultimate indulgence. The perfectly cooked beef tenderloin is smothered in mustard, earthy mushroom duxelles and salty prosciutto, and encased in a beautiful lattice blanket of flaky puff pastry. Don’t be daunted by this recipe – all the elements can be made ahead of time and assembled just before cooking, making you look like a Masterchef and impressing your family this Christmas!

Serves: 6
Prep/Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Ingredients

  • 2 (375g packets) Carême All Butter Puff Pastry, defrosted (or 1 if not making lattice)
  • 650g beef tenderloin (even thick centre cut), room temperature
  • 6-8 slices of good quality prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (or other high temp cooking oil)
  • ¼ Cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Egg yolks, lightly whisked
  • Flaked sea salt, for baking
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • For the mushroom duxelles
  • 500g swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 French shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • For the crepes
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 300ml full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, to taste.
All Butter Puff Pastry

Method

  1. For the mushroom duxelles:
  2. In a large pan, combine the olive oil, shallots and garlic over a medium-low heat, cooking for a few minutes until translucent. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms have released and reabsorbed their liquid (about 6-8 minutes), stirring regularly throughout.
  3. Add the whiskey and thyme leaves, then cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely.
  4. For the beef:
  5. In a large pan, add the canola oil and preheat on medium-high. Pat the beef tenderloin with some paper towel to dry it, and liberally season all sides and ends of the beef with salt and pepper.
  6. When the pan is extremely hot, sear the tenderloin on all sides and ends for 1-2 minutes each, until the outside is caramelised and golden (the fillet will cook through in the oven after it is wrapped in pastry).
  7. Once golden, remove the beef from the pan and place it onto a board. While it is still hot, brush all sides generously with the mustard (do this while the beef is hot so that the mustard absorbs into the fillet as it cools). Set the beef aside to cool.
  8. For the crepes:
  9. Combine the flour, milk and egg in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt, then whisk until completely smooth.
  10. In a medium non-stick pan, preheat on medium, then add just enough butter to coat the base. Pour in ¼ cup of the batter and swirl the pan immediately to ensure the mixture evenly coats the bottom. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then gently flip the crepe and cook the other side for a further minute, then remove it and place it onto a plate.
  11. Repeat with the remaining batter, buttering the pan for every second crepe.
  12. To complete the dish:
  13. On a clean benchtop or large board, slightly overlap 3-4 crepes in a line, ensuring they will completely encase the beef. Cover the bottom two thirds of the crepes with prosciutto slices, slightly overlapped, then top the prosciutto with an even layer of the cooled duxelles.
  14. Place the beef at the bottom edge of the mushroom duxelles, then gently and slowly roll the crepes and toppings up over the beef, rolling the sides inwards and upwards to completely encase the beef within the crepes.
  15. Place the roll on a large sheet of cling film, then roll it up firmly, leaving enough cling film on either side of the roll to hold onto, then twist the sides to tighten the wrap (almost like a bon bon wrapper). To do this, hold the sides of the cling film, then roll it on your bench a couple of times until it tightens around the beef. Place in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  16. Unroll the first sheet of pastry, place it onto a lightly dusted work surface and brush the entire sheet with beaten egg. Remove the crepe-covered beef from the fridge and unwrap it from the cling film. Place the beef roll in the middle of the short edge of the pastry, just above the bottom, then slowly roll the pastry around your entire wellington until the edges meet. Pinch and tuck the pastry sides underneath the wellington, ensuring there are no gaps and the pastry is completely enclosed. Brush the surface of the pastry with egg wash again. If you are not making the lattice top (see next step), you can cook the wellington at this point.
  17. To make the lattice topping, unroll the second sheet of pastry and cut it with a lattice pastry roller. Gently tease the lattice apart, then drape it over the wrapped wellington. Cut the edges and tuck the lattice underneath the wellington, then brush the lattice topping very gently with more egg wash and season with generously with flaked sea salt.
  18. Preheat oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional). Transfer the beef wellington to a lined baking tray and bake for 45-55 minutes until the beef reaches an internal temperature of 56°C for medium rare (we use a digital thermometer to cook our wellington perfectly).
  19. SERVING INSTRUCTIONS: Rest the beef for 10-15 minutes. Serve in thick slices with a rich beef jus. You can buy a great pre-made product here.
  20. TIPS: The crepes provide protection for the pastry, preventing it from coming into contact with the beef juices during cooking and ensuring the pastry remains crisp, which makes them an integral part of this recipe. If you’re not confident in making crepes yourself, you can use store-bought versions.
  21. TIPS: Make sure to cook your mushrooms slowly - if the process is rushed, the mushrooms will turn mushy.
  22. TIPS: Many elements of this dish can be prepared in advance. We recommend the following: 2 days prior to serving, make the duxelles and crepes, and store them in the fridge. 1 day prior to serving, sear the beef, wrap it in the crepes, duxelles and prosciutto, and set it in shape with the cling film, then store it in the fridge.
  23. TIPS: On the morning you are serving the dish, wrap it in the pastry and lattice topping, cover it in glad wrap and store it in the fridge until ready to bake.
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