Welly recipes vary. Sometimes they include pȃté de foie gras, duxelles made from wild mushrooms or truffles, even prosciutto replacing the pancake. But Calum Franklin of the Holborn Dining Room is a pie purist. He focuses on traditional English flavors, with grassy beef, buttery pastry, a swipe of hot mustard, and a bit of mushroom and spinach in every bite. Serve with roast potatoes and a simple gravy of meat juices and red wine.
- To make the savory crepes, whisk together the milk, egg, and flour until smooth. Whisk in 1 tablespoon (20 g) of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat, rub a little of the remaining butter around the pan. Carefully pour in just enough batter to make a thin crepe about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Repeat until you have 4 crepes.
- To make the mushroom duxelles, return the pan to high heat, and warm 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the chopped mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until there is no moisture left in the mushrooms. Add the Madeira and reduce to a gentle simmer. In a small pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and sweat down the shallots, garlic, and thyme until soft. Add to the mushrooms. When the Madeira has completely reduced and the mixture is almost dry again, remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
- Put a thin, absorbent kitchen towel (J-cloth) onto a plate, and pile the raw spinach on top, building a rectangle about 6 by 8 inches (15 by 20 cm) and using about one-quarter of the spinach. Lay another lightly dampened towel on top, and microwave for 1 minute on full power. Remove from microwave, and roll out any excess moisture with a rolling pin. Repeat the process to steam, dry, and flatten all of the spinach.
- Generously season the beef fillet with salt and pepper, and then rub all over with the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Preheat a frying pan over high heat. When pan is smoking hot, carefully add the beef fillet and sear all over for about 20 to 30 seconds, just to get a little color.
- The crepes, duxelles, spinach, and steak can be prepared a day in advance, and wrapped and refrigerated until ready to assemble.
- When ready to assemble, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a rectangle about 12 by 16 inches by (30 by 40 cm). Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and let rest in the fridge. Save any remaining pastry in the fridge for decoration.
- On a clean, flat work surface, put down a large piece of plastic wrap, and push out any air bubbles with a cloth. Lay down the crepes, overlapping them and trimming the edges to make a rectangle about 10 by 14 inches (25 by 35 cm). Lay down the spinach, leaving a 1-inch (3-cm) border at the edge. Spread the mushroom duxelles on top and carefully pat down.
- Rub the beef fillet all over with the English mustard. Place the beef fillet on top of the mushroom duxelles, and lifting the plastic wrap along the front edge, roll everything like a burrito, tucking in the ends and using the plastic wrap to tightly seal. Once the package is secure, wrap tightly with several more layers of plastic wrap. Pop into the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge. Gently dust off any excess flour, and brush liberally with egg yolk wash. Remove the Wellington from the freezer, and remove and discard the plastic wrap. Place it on top of the pastry, and roll the pastry upward, keeping it tight, until the seam crosses with about 1 inch (3 cm) of overlap. Trim off any excess. Crimp down the ends and trim so there’s just enough to tuck under. Brush the Wellington all over with the egg yolk wash.
- If you like, you can use the remaining pastry for decoration. Use a lattice roller-cutter or a paring knife to create any design you like and attach to the outside of the pastry. Brush all over with the egg yolk wash and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) on the convection setting. Bake until the pastry is golden and a thermometer inserted in the center reads 105°F (40°C), about 40 minutes. Slide the Wellington onto a cooling rack and rest for at least 25 minutes.
- Slice the Wellington with a sharp serrated knife, and serve with gravy and roast potatoes.
Becky Duffett is a writer, editor, and cook living in San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in Eating Well, Healthyish, Taste, The Kitchn, and Eater SF. She was previously a Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and the nutrition editor at Fitbit, and is currently a senior editor Good Eggs, developing dinner kits.