This classic beef wellington from Gordon Ramsay is a challenge, but once you’ve mastered it you’ll never look back. Read our cookery team’s tips to help you on your way…
For the perfect beef wellington…
Keep it air-free
Drape over the top layer of pastry very carefully, smoothing it down with your hands as you go. You don’t want any air trapped between the pastry and the meat.
Sealing the pastry
Use the rounded end of a fork or spoon handle to seal the edges rather than the prongs of a fork – using the prongs will only pierce the pastry rather than joining it.
Lower the chances of the edges separating by giving yourself lots of room – and don’t trim the pastry too close to the meat.
Use up leftover pastry
Any leftover pastry is fine to use for something else, even if covered in egg. Simply roll it into a ball and refrigerate until needed.
The trick is to get the pastry cooked through but have the meat still pink in the middle. This is easier to do in the quantities specified in the recipe because the duxelle and prosciutto will stop the fierce heat (needed to cook the pastry) from getting through too strongly to the fillet and will ensure it stays nice and rare. However, if you halve the ingredients the pastry will still take the same amount of time to cook but the barrier ingredients will be reduced, resulting in over-cooked meat.
Rest your wellington in-between each stage of wrapping. Once you’ve added the ham, wrap it tightly in cling film then pop it in the freezer for 30 mins to firm up. When you wrap it in the pastry, make sure it’s really well sealed and freeze again for 30 mins before baking. To bake, place seal side down on a pre-heated roasting tray – this will ensure the pastry starts cooking right away and reduces the chance of any of the filing leaking out. 40 mins cooking time is optimum and use a digital thermometer to check that the meat in the centre is cooked to your liking. Rare will be 50-55˚C, medium rare 55-60˚C, medium 60-65˚C and well done 65-70˚C.
Pack in the flavour
Boost the flavour of your duxelle with wild mushrooms or a drizzle of truffle oil if you have any.
We’ve tried this recipe in a classic style with pancakes (instead of the cured ham) and pate in place of the duxelle and we found pancakes make it too heavy and less flavourful and using a pate produces a dish that is overly rich. Do try and experiment with other meats though – venison is excellent in a wellington and so is a cannon of lamb.
Gordon Ramsay’s tips
Brush the meat as well as the pastry with egg wash. This will make the top layer of pastry stick to the meat and stop it from rising and leaving a gap.