Puff Pastry of Scallops, Mussels and Leeks with Saffron

This method of making twisted puff pastry containers is much simpler than it first appears. Not only do they look pretty, but the soggy centre of vol-au-vents and the like is avoided. If you have little time to spare, then just cut rectangles of pastry and bake in a hot oven until risen and browned.

With the saffron sauce and shellfish, this makes quite a filling dish. Follow it with a light main course, or serve it as the centrepiece of a simple lunch or supper.


  • 225 g/8 oz puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 225 g/8 oz leeks, well washed and thinly shredded
  • 8 large scallops, whites sliced into thin discs and coral cut into pieces
  • 20 mussels, scrubbed, and opened in a pan over a high heat

For the Saffron Sauce

  • 50 g/2 oz butter
  • 50 g/2 oz shallots, chopped
  • 150 ml/¼ pint dry white wine
  • 25 g/1 oz flour
  • 300 ml/½ pint fish stock
  • 1 very generous pinch of saffron filaments
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 75 ml/3 fl oz double cream


Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to form a 20 cm/8 inch square, 4 mm/ inch thick. Trim the edges and divide into four 10 cm/4 inch squares. Make four twists as shown in the diagram. Place on a baking sheet, cover the pastry and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to relax. Brush with beaten egg, then bake in a preheated oven, 230°C/450°F/gas mark 8, for 7 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and, using a small, sharp knife, cut out the small square in the centre of each pastry, leaving border, sides and base intact. Lift off the squares and set aside in a warm place to use later as the lids.

To make the saffron sauce, melt half the butter in a pan and sweat the shallots for 10 minutes, then add the wine and bubble until reduced to 2 tablespoons of liquid. In a separate pan, melt the remaining butter for the sauce and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and add the stock little by little. Return to the heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the saffron, reduction, a dash of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and cream. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Melt the last 25 g/1 oz butter in a separate pan and cook the leeks briefly. Add the scallops, mussels and saffron sauce. Bring to the boil, then spoon into the pastry cases, top with the reserved pastry lids and serve immediately.