In keeping with my apparent French theme, here’s some more food made with lots and lots of butter. 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 use puff pastry on occasion, but haven’t ever made my own and I expected it to be much more difficult than it was. The dough is some of the smoothest and silkiest I’ve ever worked with – very, very nice. And, just in case you were wondering, it’s the perfect dough to make when you have an extremely fussy newborn in your house. It’s OK if you have to stop and start one million times because this dough needs to go back in the refrigerator through the whole process to get cold again between “turns,” which is the technique of incorporating the layers of butter into the dough.
Typically these little vols-au-vents are filled with something savory, but they lend themselves nicely to sweet as well. By the time the pastries were finished, my boys had decided that my time in the kitchen was up…so I didn’t really get a chance to experiment will filling options like I wanted to. I did manage to get some berry filling and cream into one of them.
I only baked a few of these since I knew I wouldn’t really have time to do multiple fillings…and once baked they will only last a day or so in an air-tight container. However, this dough freezes beautifully, formed or not, and is great to have on hand since it can be used for so many things.
Like palmiers…or mini-palmiers:
I love these pastry cookies. We used to get them at the awesome bakery across the street from the Pike Market in Seattle. These are tiny because I just used the pastry scraps to make them. But I have 2/3 of the dough still in the refrigerator…and according to my husband, palmiers is what I am doing with the rest of it. He may be right.
I was delighted to do this challenge – fussy-baby-interruptions withstanding – because I love having a fundamental like this on-hand, and it’s so much better when I’ve made it myself! I can’t wait to see what’s next in the French culinary adventure…you’ll be the first to know!
For tons of photos by other bakers and the full recipe and tips, visit The Daring Kitchen.