Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 2009- Vol au Vents

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. Before we get to the recipe, let us return to the Land of St. Honore’ to see what they are up to this month.

Once upon a time in the Land of St. Honore’, the Princess of Hearts was bored. Her father was off playing cards, her mother was baking tarts and her brother was up to some mischief or other. She looked through the toys on the shelf and had an idea.

Years ago she had been given a solid gold apple by a visiting dignitary. Now she was much too old to enjoy such a plaything, so she would offer it as a prize. The heralds were sent far and wide announcing that a prize would be given to the person who could make the princess laugh.

Many tried and the princess grew tired of those who made funny faces, juggled melons, and tried with Punch and Judy antics to make her laugh. At length a squire approached with a plate he had been asked to deliver to her. On the plate were small rounds of flaky pastry, filled with whipped cream and topped with berries.

She was so annoyed with the man telling jokes that she barely looked at the pastries.

The squire, hoping to catch her attention, in a rounded voice asked her. “Would you like a vol au vent?”

The princess turned toward him and giggled a bit. “Put one of those in your mouth and then ask me” she said. He did just that and this time it came out sounding like ‘wowel awe went” and his cheeks were distended like a chipmunks as he tried to talk and not show the food in his mouth, all the while enjoying the full buttery flavor of the pastry, complimented by the sweet cream and juicy berries.

The princess couldn’t help herself…she laughed out loud, and then continued to laugh as tears streamed down her cheeks. Once she stopped laughing she popped one of the vol au vents into her own mouth and the squire was rewarded with a charming smile as she enjoyed the treat and the fact that she was no longer bored.

She presented the squire with the golden apple and then asked, “Do you know any more strange and funny words?”

Find all the charming vol au vents around the blogosphere today as the Daring Bakers make these cunning puff pastry cases and fill them with all sorts of delicious things. The Blogroll is here and the recipe is here at Steph's blog. Thank you Steph for a great challenge!

I enjoyed making these little morsels of butter and was surprised at how much my puff pastry puffed. I guess all that rolling and turning and rolling and turning works! Fortunately the day I made the pastry it was cold in the kitchen so I was able to do four turns before chilling the dough for the last turns. The day I baked the vol au vents was much warmer and that may have led to the somewhat wobbly sides on some of them…the dough may have been too warm.
These vol au vents were enjoyed with whipped cream and late harvest blackberries. The photos just below are of the ones that sort of slumped over. I'm filling the pretty ones today to eat after Sunday dinner, so the pretty photos will be added (have been added - see top and below). The ones we ate, misshapen though they were, were a hit at my house and likely would be enjoyed at yours, too. Straight Shooter liked that they weren't too sweet.
It is worth the effort and life is always good when you have an excuse to beat some dough with a rolling pin! The little circles that you cut out of the pieces that become the sides can also be baked and become these cute pastries:

They make a fun snack as Sweetie will be happy to tell you.

Speaking of Sweetie, he has been working for quite a while now on ship models, most of them from the World War II era. He recently made a beautiful display case so that we can better admire them and all the detail work. I promised my Mom that I would include a photo of that on the blog. Here it is, Mom. As you can see it really did come out beautifully. The lower two sections have plexiglas over the opening to keep the ships from being hit by the baker's dog's tail. :)


  1. These are deliciously pretty and I think the prince would be more lovely after tasting these. No? :D

  2. juggling melons could be racy...great job with the challenge.

  3. super story as usual! I laughed imagining the squire with his mouth full and trying to speak. Your vols look great and the filling simply delish. Thanks for the link back. Cant wait to see what you do with Bond in St Honore'....!

  4. LOL! these look delicious and loved the story! fantastic!

  5. Wow, your pastry really did puff! They look gorgeous - great job!

  6. Your vols are beautiful. They rose so well. Love the simple filling.

    Cute story!!

  7. Awesome story!! Your vols-au-vent look delicious, and they rose beautifully =D.

  8. Great story, as always.
    To me, the blackberries seem to take up the lines of the tufts (?What do you call them in English?) of cream.

  9. Your vol-au-vents look perfect, so tall and crisp. I love how ou used a shell edged cutter.

  10. I read Dharm's James Bond version and I love both of your much fun to read! That said, your vold au vents turned out gorgeous, your layers are spectacular and they rose so high! Amazing job all around, and that filling looks gorgeous and heavenly. Blueberries (or any berry for that matter, especially raspberries) and cream are what dreams are made of :)

  11. puff pastry fit for a princess! lovely--and thanks for baking with me this month!

  12. Such lovely little puffs! And that filling looks so light and creamy, a perfect contrast to that crunchy, buttery pastry. :)

  13. How retro! They were so popular in the 70's and 80's for cocktails. Long live the Vol au Vent!!

  14. I just found your blog! I love all the recipes!!