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by Julie Ruble at

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When I was in college, I stepped into exactly one frat party for exactly 20 seconds. That’s how long it took me to see that barely any lights were on, everyone was sloppy-drinking, and the music was lame. I decided I wasn’t a party girl, made a u-turn out the door, and headed back to my room to read and eat Easy Mac.

It took me at least another decade before I realized that I do enjoy parties — just not frat parties. For some reason I was slow to find out about all the other kinds of nerdy, artsy, silly, and delicious parties you could have. To save you from this same grave error, here are 8 parties I highly recommend you throw:

Smoked Whitefish Salad Vols-au-Vent
Smoked Whitefish Salad Vols-au-Vent

Smoked Whitefish Salad Vols-au-Vent

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking using Ina Garten’s whitefish salad
Yield: 6 large vols-au-vent

Smoked whitefish is my new favorite thing! It’s the perfect smoky, savory complement to a buttery puff pastry cup and smooth cream cheese. Make these appetizers for easy entertaining!

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (or make your own)
1 pound smoked whitefish, skinned and boned
1/3 cup minced red onion*
1/3 cup minced celery
2/3 cup good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (for egg wash)
chopped chives (for garnish)
*I soaked my red onions in cold water for 10 minutes to mellow them out and then drained and dried them.

Set your puff pastry sheets out to thaw according to the package (around 40 minutes.) Flake the whitefish with your hands to allow you to check for any stray bones. Gently combine the whitefish with the red onion, celery, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Set in the fridge to chill.

When puff pastry sheets are mostly thawed but still cold, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Gently unfold the pastry and roll each sheet out until it’s a little bigger than 9 x 9 inches square. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut 18 circles out of the dough (9 per sheet). Then use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut a hole out of the center of 12 of the circles. Top each solid circle with two rings to form 6 large pastry “cups.” Brush each cup with egg wash, taking care that it doesn’t drip down the side. (You can egg wash and bake the center cut-outs separately as extra treats. I like to sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar.) Dock the center of the cups with a fork so that steam will escape and keep the centers flat.

Bake the cups for around 15 minutes or until they’re golden and baked through. Immediately upon removing them from the oven, press the center of each cup flat. Cool them completely on a wire rack before piping a thin layer of softened cream cheese into each cup and topping with a heaping spoonful of whitefish salad. Garnish with two chives.

4 Comments on Smoked Whitefish Salad Vols-au-Vent (and 8 great party ideas)

  1. Joshua Hampton
    September 1, 2014 at 4:05 am (8 years ago)

    Awesome party ideas. And the whitefish salad looks scrumptious… I could finish a whole plate of them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie Ruble
      September 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks Joshua!

  2. Thalia @ butter and brioche
    September 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm (8 years ago)

    These vols au vent’s look and sound delicious. I defintiely need to create the recipe, they are a perfect appetizer!

  3. Lauren
    September 14, 2014 at 7:50 pm (8 years ago)

    You’ve got some really great party ideas!! I’m imagining what I’d cook for a Seven Deadly Sins themed potluck party and the possibilities are extremely entertaining.


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