I simply adore making these pillows. I used to try and crumb the stuffed chicken. It was delicious, but very fiddly. I have been tempted to try it again with almond meal instead of breadcrumbs, but they are very impressive in filo pastry. I once had great trouble finding the right tin of cherries, so I know keep a can in cupboard for the rare occasions that I crave these. I really wouldn’t bother with fresh ones, the softness of the cooked cherries makes all the difference. The rest of the tin always goes down a treat as is or on a scoop of vanilla icecream, perhaps with some grated chocolate on top. I once fancied them up by baking a triangle of (frozen) dark chocolate pastry to garnish. I had some incredible French Brie in the fridge, and the recipe really benifited from the good quality cheese, but you can use any brie or camembert. If you really wanted to save the cash you could probably use cream cheese, but I don’t think it would compare.
|24||square sheets||filo pastry|
|4||free range chicken thigh fillets|
|24||slices (approx)||flaked almonds (to garnish)|
Preheat the oven to 180oC. If your pastry sheets are rectangular, cut them into 30cm squares. Separate one sheet from the stack of pastry, use a pastry brush to spread with melted butter and set aside. Brush the next sheet with melted butter and lay atop the last. Repeat until you have six buttered sheets of pastry.
To prepare a pillow, lay open a chicken thigh in the corner of the buttered pastry square. Place four cherries, and a quarter of the cheese in the centre of the chicken thigh. I split the cherries open and lay them out. ‘Close’ the chicken thigh back up again. To roll up the pillow, move the chicken so the pastry corner in which the chicken sits points at you. Take the corner that’s pointing at you and roll it on top of the chicken. Being careful to seal in the edges, and not tear the pastry, fold over the left hand corner, then the right. If you see any unbuttered portions of pastry, apply additional melted butter. Roll up the pillow, ensuring all the filling is encased. Brush the top with a little more butter, and arrange some flaked almonds on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve with broccolini and baby potatoes, or vegetables of your choice.