Crestview, Fl
My first Daring Challenge...en croute! (Anything wrapped in puff pastry dough!) The Daring Kitchen gave us a few different options and left us to decide what to do. Once I saw Beef Wellington, there were no other options to consider. 
I am a big Gordon Ramsay fan and one of his famous dishes is Beef Wellington. I tried making it once, everyone loved it, but I suppose I am my own worse critic, I was not feeling the tenderloin love. So this was my chance to try again!

I started out with the liver pate'. I will just say, it was NOT for me. My husband liked it, but he likes chicken liver and was quite happy to fry up what I had not used. My tastes center on texture first and this was just too soft to be considered meat. If you like liver, forge ahead, if not, skip this step. This recipe is from I made it the day before I made the wellington.
Liver Pate
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted; more for the ramekins 
9 oz. chicken livers (about 1 cup) 
2 medium shallots, chopped (1/4 cup) 
1 medium clove garlic, chopped 
3 sprigs fresh thyme 
2-1/2 Tbs. Madeira 
2-1/2 Tbs. brandy 
2 large eggs 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-oz. ramekins.

Inspect the chicken livers; trim and discard any green-yellow patches. Cut each liver in half.

Put the shallots, garlic, thyme, Madeira, and brandy in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, checking frequently, until reduced to about 1?Tbs. of liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid.

Put the chicken livers in a food processor. Add the eggs, the reserved liquid, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds, gradually pouring in the melted butter while the motor is running. Strain the mixture into the ramekins.

Put the ramekins in a 9x13-inch baking dish and pour in enough hot water to come about 1 inch up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until puffed, golden-brown, and set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and cool completely. If not using immediately, cover tightly with plastic wrap once the pâté is cool, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Then I made the mushroom duxelles. (Also the day before) These were delicious. 
For the mushroom duxelles
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vegetable or sunflower oil
1/4 cup  finely chopped shallots
1-1/2 cups  finely chopped Portobello mushrooms (from 4 large caps; remove the stems and gills before chopping, preferably in a food processor)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Heat the butter and oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over low heat.
2. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms, stir well, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have cooked down to a thick, almost black mixture, about 15 minutes. 
4. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
5. Stir in the parsley; then transfer to a small bowl and cool completely. (The duxelles can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)

Now for the crepes. I love crepes. They are light, fluffy pancakes. I have always wanted to make them but they intimidate me in the same way pancakes do. This is why the hubby always makes pancakes. But this was my challenge and I was ready to tackle it! These go great with a drizzle of honey or some syrup. Yum!!
For the crêpes
1/2 cup  unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
1/8 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup  whole milk
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter

1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, break in the eggs, and add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the milk.
2. Gently whisk the eggs and milk, gradually incorporating the flour.
3. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk to make a smooth batter. (The batter can be covered and set aside for up to an hour at this point.)
Melt the butter in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan to coat with the butter; pour the excess butter out into a small bowl.
4. Whisk 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz) (15 gm) of the melted butter into the batter. Reserve the rest for greasing the pan between crêpes.

5. Increase the heat to medium high and pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the batter into the skillet. Swirl so the batter thinly and evenly coats the base of the pan.
6. Cook until the crêpe is spotted with brown on the underside, about 1 minute, then flip and cook the other side until lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
7. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the pan off the heat as necessary.
8. Transfer the crêpes to a plate, separating them with sheets of parchment, and cool. You’ll need about 4 crêpes

Now, we get to the good stuff. I don't know if you have ever had beef tenderloin, but it is amazing stuff. Meat that dreams are made of. It is one of the most tender cuts of meat I have ever had. Absolutely worth every penny. 
Four 5 oz center-cut beef tenderloin steaks , trimmed, side muscle removedKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon  vegetable  oil
2/3 cup  chicken liver pâté (you can buy this if you want)
1 pound puff pastry, I bought mine, feel free to make your own, thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
1. Remove the beef from the refrigerator about an hour ahead so it has time to come to room temp. Pat the beef dry and season all over with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot. Sear the beef until it is evenly browned all over (don’t worry about the ends), 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Transfer the beef to a baking sheet and cool.
4. In a medium bowl, mash the pâté and the duxelles with a fork until they form a soft paste. (I did this for my husband's and just used the duxelles for mine)
5. Lay 1 crêpe on a clean work surface. Dot the pâté mixture over the crêpes, then use a spatula to spread it evenly across the crêpes’ surface.
6. Place the tenderloin in the center of the crêpes and carefully wrap them around the filet, pressing and molding them into place. Trim off any excess crêpe at the ends. (Depending on the size of your tenderloin steaks, you may need to use 2 crepes, if so, just overlap them before spreading on the pate and duxelles)

7. Lay out the puff pastry. Cut it in half. (should be enough to cover the whole tenderloin steak)
8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 13x16-inch (33x40 cm) rectangle (for store-bought puff, roll in the direction of the seam).
9. Transfer the wrapped beef to the center of the pastry and tuck any crêpes that have come loose back into place. Bring the pastry up around the beef, smoothing out any air pockets.
10. Brush some of the beaten egg along the bottom edge of the seam and then press gently to seal; trim off any excess. Seal the pastry similarly at the ends.
11. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with the butter. Lift the Wellington onto the sheet, seam side down. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours. (If refrigerating longer than 1 hour, let the Wellington sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)

12. At least 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9 and position a rack in the center of the oven. Brush the Wellington with the remaining beaten egg.
13. Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the pastry with diagonal lines, being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry.
14. Put the Wellington in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to hot 425°F. Roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderately hot 400°F and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the Wellington registers 135°F/57°C for medium rare, 5 minutes.
15. Transfer to a carving board and let the Wellington rest for 10 minutes.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! The crusty puff pastry and the soft delicateness of the beef are a perfect pair. A real must try! I can't wait until I can show you my Daring Bakers challenge! Stay tuned on the 27th for a yummy treat!

Brandy Cakes