Was there ever really any mystery? Of course I was going to bake again. Boy, am I glad I did, too...these things are so cool!
But before I say another word, I will pause to give you this month's requisite Daring Bakers' intro:
"The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan."
I know what you're thinking. It's probably a tie between "What the hell is a Vols-au-Vent?*" and "Whatever it is must be complicated because apparently it takes three well-known chefs to make it."
That's exactly what I thought, too!
It turns out that Vols-au-vent is a fancy French way of saying "delectable homemade puff pastry cups that you can fill with whatever you want"**. It also turns out that it only takes one mildly ambitious home cook, a hard-working refrigerator, and multiple viewings of the helpful instructional video to make it.
I say unto you, Voila! Les vols-au-vent!
Step 1: Get out 5 ingredients. Ice water counts as one of them!
Step 2: Make a ball of dough.
Step 3: Take a pound of butter and whack the heck out of it with your rolling pin.
Step 4. Roll out the chilled dough. Put the butter in a dough envelope, roll the envelope out, then fold it up again. Turn, repeat, and put it in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour.
Steps 5 and 6. Repeat the "roll, fold, repeat" part of Step 4 two more times. In between, check your e-mail and run a couple of errands.
Step 7: Roll out the dough, but a lot flatter this time. Cut out circles, then make 1/2 the circles into smaller circles and rings.
Step 8: Brush some beaten egg on the circles, top with the rings. Fridge time!
Step 9: Bake, first with a mat on them, then without. Cool.
Step 10: Fill with anything you like (I chose cherry braised short ribs with creme fraiche, and curried crab salad with capers).
Final Step: Wipe that silly grin off your face. You know how easy this was, so don't get too impressed with yourself!***
* Jennie, no fair, you live in France.
** In reality, it translates to "lift by air" or something like that.
*** If you are unable to stop smiling, it is probably because you just took a bite out of one of your creations and realized how unbelievably good it tastes. Again, this is not your doing. It is the pound of butter talking.