Try these flaky filo parcels filled with buttery mashed potato along with leeks, garlic, sage, chilli and large chunks of melted brie.
When it comes to pastries, it’s all about the filling.
And perhaps the butter, but more so the filling. In my house we do love the odd filo pastry or puff pastry dish.
They’re great to have on hand as they’re so versatile and almost anything tastes good inside them. Wrapping things up in pastry and baking them is also easy and a great way to use up leftovers.
I’d have to say that our pastry consumption tends to increase after the summer. Largely because I’m testing my Christmas recipes and you can’t have Christmas without some form of pastry.
As a vegetarian, Christmas has always meant being a little extra creative. It’s a time of good food and I’m always happy to show off our vegetarian Christmas spread.
I handle the Christmas dinner every year in our house and I usually do try and change things up each time. So I’m always at the drawing board and testing out different dishes.
One of the dishes that will be gracing our table this year are these Flaky Potato and Brie Parcels.
Flaky Potato and Brie Parcels
These are exactly as they sound. They are incredibly flaky parcels filled with the most glorious combination of mashed potato and brie.
The pastry itself consists of thin layers of filo which have been brushed with butter between each layer. This creates a result that is immensely flaky and it just falls apart with every bite. The butter also helps to create a golden finish on top of the parcels.
But moving on to the filling. It’s not just an ordinary mashed potato, running through is a mixture of butter, leeks, garlic, sage, nutmeg, and surprising bursts of chilli. This is also combined with chunks of brie that when baked, melt to become wonderfully creamy and cheesy.
The chilli is what may surprise some, but it works so well. The key is to use fresh red chillies with a medium heat. That way you get a combination of heat with an almost subtle fruity pepperiness.
I’m a spice fan through and throughout, but if you’re not you can absolutely omit the chillies. Especially if you’ve got younger ones in the family or guests that are less tolerant to spice and chilli. It’ll still be a delicious pastry even without the chilli. Potato and cheese is always a winner.
When you combine the flaky pastry with the buttery, potato-y, creamy, cheesy filling, it’s honestly the perfect match. These are easy to make, easy to fold, and they’re guaranteed to impress your guests.
What is brie?
For any readers unfamiliar with this fantastic creation, it is indeed a type of cheese. It’s a soft cows milk cheese named after the region in France from where it originated – i.e. Brie.
Brie is quite a high fat cheese which lends to its buttery, creamy texture. It’s not too dissimilar to camembert, which tends to have a lower fat percentage. Brie tends to be slightly milder
Due to the high fat percentage in brie, it has the most amazing creamy interior. This incredible cheese also melts to become stretchy and even more creamy, making it perfect for grilled cheeses, gratins, pastry fillings etc.
It’s even great just sliced and eaten with crackers. The flavour is rich and almost fruity, with a hint of nuttiness and earthiness too. The flavour can vary depending on the age of the brie.
Brie is often sold in a triangular wedge shape or in a circular shape. It has a cream/off-white centre with a white mouldy rind covering the surface.
This rind is completely edible and actually enhances the flavour of the cheese when eaten. Many always question whether it is edible or not, but it absolutely is.
Working with filo pastry
Filo pastry involves sheets of thin unleavened dough. This dough is usually made from flour, water, and some oil. It’s then rolled or stretched out into large, very thin sheets.
It’s quite the skill to make filo pastry so I’d definitely recommend purchasing this ready made rather than attempting to make it yourself.
It should be readily available in most general supermarkets and it’s often refrigerated. I purchase mine from Tesco (for UK readers).
The main tips when working with filo pastry are firstly to work fairly quickly as the sheets can dry out. This then causes them to crack as they lose their pliability.
Secondly, leave the pile of filo sheets covered with a lightly damp kitchen towel whilst you remove each sheet one by one as you work. This will help to prevent them from drying out as well.
The last tip is to brush the sheets with melted butter as this will help them to turn golden and crispy as they bake.
These Flaky Potato and Brie Parcels are
- Easy to make
- Great for parties or your Christmas dinner
How to serve these parcels
These parcels are great served alone as they’re so full of flavour and texture. You really do not need to do much with these.
I love eating these on their own, it’s such a delight. However if you’re a fan of condiments and dips, then by all means feel free to serve some alongside.
For a Christmas dinner I’d recommend serving alongside some cranberry sauce as the tartness and sweetness will pair well with the rich, creamy, buttery, cheesiness of the parcels.
The sweetness will also help to balance out some of the heat that comes from the chilli. It’s also a classic festive condiment that you may already have on hand for your Christmas dinner.
A mango chutney would also work very well for the same reason. Or if like me, you love your spice, then your favourite chilli sauce or sweet chilli sauce will also work exceptionally well.
It’s not a traditional pairing but it will certainly be a delicious one!
What you’ll need
You’ll require the following:
The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Potatoes – a good floury potato like a Maris Piper or Yukon Gold will be perfect here
- Red chilli – feel free to leave these out if you’re not a chilli fan or making these parcels for younger ones
- Black pepper
- Filo pastry
- Black sesame seeds – these are optional
How to make these Flaky Potato and Brie Parcels
Let’s start with the potato and brie filling:
1) Start by placing the chopped potatoes into a pan of cold water along with the salt
2)Bring this to a boil until knife tender
3) Once knife tender, drain into a colander then leave the colander covered with a kitchen towel. This will allow the potatoes to dry. The towel absorbs the steam!
4) Whilst the potatoes are covered and cooling, start sautéing the leeks in butter
5) Add the garlic, red chilli, and sage to the leek mixture and continue to sauté until it resembles 6)
7) Once the potatoes have dried for around 15 minutes, pass these through a potato ricer. Alternatively mash with a masher or fork
8) Add the leek mixture to the potatoes
9) Add a tbsp of butter to the mixture whilst still warm and allow it to melt in. This will make it even more buttery and rich
10) Mix to incorporate and allow to cool completely
11) Once the mixture has cooled completely, add the chopped up brie
12) Mix once more to combine and to equally distribute the brie
Next let’s assemble the parcels:
1) Grab your sheet of filo (leave the other sheets covered under a lightly damp kitchen towel to prevent drying out). Lightly brush the sheet with melted butter – it doesn’t need to be perfect
2) Fold the filo sheet in half
3) Once the sheet has been folded over, cut it midway into two long strips. As we’ve folded the filo, both long strips will be 2 layers thick. This helps with extra crispiness!
4) Place around a heaped tbsp of filling at the top of the pastry
5) Fold the top corner of the pastry over to form a triangle. You can push the filling at this point to shape it into the direction you want it to go
6) Then fold the triangle downwards. We’re going to repeat this folding motion to build up layers
7) As per 6) it should now be folded over like so
8) Once again fold the top corner over and keep repeating the above steps
9+10) You will now be getting towards the end of the strip of pastry
11) On the last fold there will be a small amount of exposed pastry
12) Brush the last bit of exposed pastry with melted butter
13+14) Fold the last piece over, the melted butter will help to seal this
Baking the parcels:
1) Place the parcels on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place them seam side down. Then brush liberally with melted butter
2) You can add an optional sprinkle of black sesame seeds if you like
3) Bake until golden brown and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
Can these Flaky Potato and Brie Parcels be prepared in advance?
They can indeed and there are a two ways to go about it. The first method is to prepare the pastries and fold them all, then place in a tray and wrap them tightly in cling film.
These can then be refrigerated until you’re ready to bake them. When ready for baking brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Add an additional 5-10 minutes on to the bake time.
The other option is to bake all the pastries and then re-heat on serving. This can be done in the oven by baking for 5-10 minutes or placed in an air fryer for 3-4 minutes.
Can these be made vegan?
Substituting the butter with vegan butter is an easy switch. Finding a vegan brie alternative may be a bit more tricky. If there’s a plant based cheese that you particularly like, you can absolutely substitute this in.
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy cooking!
Flaky Potato and Brie Parcels
For the filling:
- 900 g potatoes peeled, Maris Pipers/King Edwards/Russets/Idaho/Yukon Golds work well
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 leek white and light green portion finely sliced
- 2 red chillies finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 20 g fresh sage roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 200 g brie chopped into cubes
For the pastry:
- 250 g filo pastry ~14 sheets
- 6 tbsp butter
- black sesame seeds optional
Preparing the filling:
- Start by chopping the potatoes into quarters, then place into a saucepan along with the salt and enough cold water to cover completely. Bring to a boil and boil till knife tender
- Drain the potatoes into a colander or sieve and place a kitchen towel on top. Allow to cool and dry for 15 minutes
- Meanwhile in a separate pan heat up 2tbsp of the butter and add the leeks. Sauté for around one minute on a medium-low heat
- Then add the garlic, chilli, and sage and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes
- Once the potatoes have cooled for around 15 minutes, either pass through a potato ricer or use a potato masher until it forms a smooth mash. Add the remaining tbsp of butter to this mixture for a super smooth and creamy mash
- Add the leek mixture into the mash along with the nutmeg and black pepper. Check your mix for seasoning and add salt if required
- Cover the mixture with a lid or foil and allow it to cool completely
- Once cooled add the brie and mix to combine
Preparing the parcels:
- Melt the butter and leave aside
- Take a sheet of filo, leaving the others covered with a lightly damp towel to prevent drying out
- Brush the sheet of filo with butter, it does not need to be perfect
- Fold the sheet in half to create one long sheet, then with a sharp knife cut this lengthways into two equal long strips. Each strip should now be 2 layers thick (i.e. from 14 sheets of filo you will end up with 28 long strips = 28 parcels)
- For the folding, follow the visual guide above. Place a heaped tbsp of filling at the top corner of each pastry strip and fold the top corner inwards to create a triangular shape
- Next fold this triangular shape down and repeat this diagonal folding method until there is only a small strip of pastry remaining. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect and the corners are not completely sealed shut
- Brush the small amount of exposed pastry with melted butter and fold over to seal
Baking the parcels:
- Pre heat your oven to 180’C fan/200’C conventional
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the parcels seam side down
- Brush the top surface of the parcels liberally with melted butter
- Sprinkle with black sesame seeds (optional) and place into the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes or until deep golden brown in colour