Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dare? Ya!

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.


  1. These are perfection! I love the curried crab filling. Great job on this month's challenge.

  2. Your pastry rose beautifully! I love the sound of the fillings you used, yum. Hmmm... what's for dinner? ;)

    Brilliant baking :)

  3. I love the sound of the short rib filling! Your pastry rose beautifully.

    Brilliant baking :)

  4. The shape of your vols au vent looks great, I love how evenly they puffed

  5. Congratulations on your 2nd DB challenge! You got some nice puffing going on with your puff pastry! The savory fillings you did sound very delicious!

  6. Wow how good are you your clouds of puffiness look delicious. Very well done. Love them all especially the savoury ones. Cheers from Audax in Australia

  7. What well risen puff pastry you have made! I love the way you can see all the layers. Great work!! Nice fillings!

  8. Perfect layers, great puffy pastry! like the filling! great work!