Annika Eats

Bakery Style Chicken Puffs

A white sauce creamy chicken filling with mustard, black pepper and cheddar cheese with a flaky golden puff pastry on the outside. Such a simple snack or meal but so delicious.

This recipe is inspired by a bakery in Bombay by the name of McCraigs. When I was younger my dad would buy their chicken puffs and surprise me with them when he would come home from work. Those little puffs meant everything to me. I enjoyed having them with some ketchup. They were smaller than these that I have made hence I could eat close to a dozen. Maybe the size is an excuse for me to cover up the amount I have consumed in one go. 

As I’ve grown up into cooking and baking, it is my life long passion to connect recipes to memories and bring them alive through cooking/baking. This recipe has to be one of my earliest childhood food memories and I Love these puffs with a passion. You could make your own pastry at home which I normally do but I used store bought today. There aren’t many ingredients needed to make this easy snack hence there aren’t many substitutes but I could recommend a few based on trial and error. I have been testing this recipe for months on end to get it as close to McCraigs and I am happy with these. 

What ingredients do you need to make these Bakery Style Chicken Puffs?

To make the chicken filing we need cooked chicken that is chopped up. Yo could use leftover roast chicken or any leftover chicken in the fridge. It must be boneless so take your time to remove the bones. Sometimes I put the chicken in a food processor to shred it finely but chopping it well also works. To make the white sauce we need flour, butter, milk and then we add some aromatic ingredients such as nutmeg, bay leaves and season with pepper. I use cheddar cheese in the sauce, more for flavor than anything else. I’ve used store bought puff pastry to make these puffs. Also, an egg to brush the top of the pastry before it bakes will help it get a deep golden brown color. I garnish each puff with sesame seeds and onion seeds but that is optional. 

What substitutes can I use to make these Bakery Style Chicken Puffs?

Instead of butter you can use a vegan butter spread but you need butter to make the roux which will not only add flour but a luscious smooth texture to the sauce. The recipe calls for a lot of flour in the sauce but that is because we need a thick sauce to fill the pastry with. We don’t want it to ooze out. As for the mustard a good smooth Dijon mustard is brilliant here but you can use any mustard you have, even grainy mustard will work. I love the flavor of cheddar in the this filling but any cheese of your choice would work fine. Keep a note on the seasoning as the cheese would affect the salt in it. Ive used left over roasted chicken that I shredded and chopped up.

What equipment do you need to make these Bakery Style Chicken Puffs?

To make the sauce we need a sauce pot and whisk. Since my puff pastry is store bought I don’t need to roll it out, I just cut it up with a sharp knife and transfer it to a baking tray. I use a brush to glaze the pastry with egg wash before baking. 

How to make these Bakery Style Chicken Puffs?

We start by preheating the oven to 180℃ and keep our baking tray ready lined with baking paper. Prep your cooked chicken by chopping it up really well. In a sauce pot on medium heat we add the butter and let it melt. We then add the flour and let that cook until bubbling and a toasted biscuit aroma hits the air – we do not want any color on this hence keep an eye on the heat and reduce it if needed. Add the milk a little at a time whisking. To ensure there are no lumps. Add all the milk and whisk well. Season with nutmeg, bayleaf, a little salt and pepper. Once this is bubbling and has gotten thick take it off the heat and add the cheese. Stir it around and let the cheese melt. Add the chopped chicken into the sauce, add the mustard, more seasoning as required and stir around. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Let it cool down for a few minutes. 

Ensure you have 6×6 inch (approximately) squares of puff pastry. This recipe yields 12 large puffs but if you make them smaller you will get more and the same goes if you make them larger you will get less. The measurement of the puff is a mere indication for you to keep in mind while rolling out your dough/cutting it out. Fill the pastry on one end and seal the edges together to create a pocket. Transfer to the baking tray and repeat the process. I wouldn’t fit more than 3 on a tray (depending on how large your tray and oven is – I used a counter top oven hence I would rather bake them in batches as they will rise and puff up as they bake. Lightly brush each pastry with a beaten egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and onion seeds. Bake for 28 to 30 mins until  puffed and golden brown. Serve them hot.

How to store these Bakery Style Chicken Puffs?

Once these puffs are made they are best consumed within the day. They will lose its texture and flakiness once stored in the fridge over night. If you have leftover filling you can store it in the fridge for a couple of days and use it to make more puffs or sandwiches. 

Serving options with these Bakery Style Chicken Puffs –

I like serving them on their own but you could serve it with ketchup, hot sauce or even some more mustard. They are lovely as a meal with a salad while they make for yummy snacks well. These puffs are travel friendly and definitely work well with picnics. 

Now that we have covered how to make these puffs, let us start making them. Happy Baking Ninjas!

Bakery Style Chicken Puffs

A white sauce creamy chicken filling with mustard, black pepper and cheddar cheese with a flaky golden puff pastry on the outside. Such a simple snack or meal but so delicious.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Chill Time 10 mins
Course Snack, tea time, Finger food, Brunch, Party, Starter, High Tea, Lunch, Breakfast, Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine French, American
Servings 12 Puffs

Equipment

  • Sauce pot
  • Whisk
  • Fork
  • Brush
  • Knife
  • Baking tray
  • Baking paper

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 5 tsp Butter
  • 1 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar
  • 3 tbsp Mustard
  • 3 cups Cooked chicken chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 12 Puff pastry squares
  • 1 Egg egg wash
  • 1 tsp Sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp Onion seeds

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180℃ and line a baking tray with baking paper. Prep your cooked chicken by chopping it up fine, set aside.
  • In a sauce pot on medium heat add the butter and let it melt. Then add the flour and let that cook until bubbling and a toasted biscuit aroma hits the air - we do not want any color on this hence keep an eye on the heat and reduce it if needed. Add the milk a little at a time whisking. To ensure there are no lumps. Season with nutmeg, bayleaf, a little salt and pepper.
  • Once this is bubbling and has gotten thick take it off the heat and add the cheese. Stir it around and let the cheese melt. Add the chopped chicken into the sauce, add the mustard, season as required and stir. Let it cool down for a few minutes.
  • Ensure you have 6x6 inch* (check notes) squares of puff pastry. This recipe yields 12 large puffs but if you make them smaller if you like. Fill the pastry on one end and seal the edges together using a fork.
  • Transfer to the baking tray and repeat the process. I wouldn’t fit more than 3 on a tray (depending on how large your tray and oven is - I used a counter top oven hence I would rather bake them in batches) as they will rise and puff up as they bake. Lightly brush each pastry with a beaten egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and onion seeds.
  • Bake for 28 to 30 mins until puffed and golden brown. Serve them hot.

Notes

  • The white sauce is also known as béchamel sauce, we make it super thick only to ensure there is no spillage while baking.
  • When working with puff pastry make sure to always keep the dough chilled this will help make the puff flaky as it bakes.
  • *The measurement of the puff is a mere indication for you to keep in mind while rolling out your dough/cutting it out.

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