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Impress Your Friends Quail in Puff Pastry

Not everyone goes on a business trip and ends up buying a black truffle. However, David says this quail dish was inspired by the movie Babette’s Feast and served at own of their regular Cocoa & Lavender “Dinner and a Movie” nights. You should read the full post here, the recipe is below.

quail in sarcophagus #TastesofProvence @CocoaandLavender

Quail - Cailles en Sarcophages

A rich and almost luxurious feast of delicately roasted quail with sumptuous pate and truffles all cozied up in a light flaky puff pastry shell.
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 4 people


  • 14 oz puff pastry, fresh or frozen (defrosted in refrigerator) *
  • 4 semi-boneless quail
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 12 oz pâté de foie de canard divided
  • 2 oz black truffle fresh, frozen, or jarred
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter divided
  • 1 cup Madeira
  • 1 cup prepared demi-glace


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Cut 8 4.5-inch rounds from the pastry.
  • Cut 3.5-inch circles in the center of four of the 4.5-inch rounds; place each outer ring atop one of the remaining 4.5-inch circles and set them aside.
  • Reserve the 3.5-inch disks for another use (I made strawberry tartlets).
  • Bake on a Silpat® or parchment-lined baking sheet for 18-22 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
  • Set aside to cool.
    Quail in Puff Pastry #Recipe #tastesofProvence @CocoaandLavender
  • With a very sharp paring knife, cut around the raised rim to create the tops of the sarcophagi. Be careful to take only the top layer of the pastry as shown in the photos.
  • Raise the oven to 450°F.
  • Season the inside of the quails with some salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Mash the pâté and divide into 8 pieces; form each piece into a lozenge-shaped disc.
    Quail in Puff Pastry #Recipe #tastesofProvence @CocoaandLavender
  • Using a truffle slicer or very sharp knife, cut 12 slices from one of the truffles
  • Lay 3 slices of truffle on each of 4 pâté disks.
  • Cover them with the remaining disks of pâté and stuff into the cavity of each quail.
  • Truss the quails.
  • Slice remaining truffle and set aside.
  • Season the outsides of the quail with salt and a few grinds of white pepper.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an ovenproof skillet over high heat.
  • Sear the quails, starting breast-side up, for 20 to 30 seconds per side.
  • Place the pan in the oven (with quail breast-side down) and roast for 8 minutes.
  • Turn the quails breast-side up and roast for 5 minutes more. Remove quail to a plate; cover and keep warm.
  • Place the skillet over high heat on top of the stove.
  • Pour in the Madeira and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Simmer for 1 minute.
  • Pour in the demi-glace and reserved truffle slices and simmer for 2 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Stir in the remaining tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve, put each quail in a pastry nest, and drizzle with sauce, spooning sauce around the sarcophagi, as well.


David's pastry epiphany...
* I no longer need to rail against frozen, commercial puff pastry. I have recently learned one of the reasons I never liked it. The brand most readily available here (Pepperidge Farm®) is not made with butter. Whose idea was that? It is great for vegans, but... well, whatever.
** I recently found Dufour-brand®, all butter, frozen puff pastry and love it. Homemade is always best but, if you aren't up for it or don't have the time, Dufour® is a great alternative!
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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