Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Vols au Vent

So this month's recipe was Vols au Vent. This is pretty much a puff pastry cup for assorted fillings. The real thing for this challenge was the puff pastry.

The way puff pastry works is you have a dough with thin layers of butter in between. The dough needs to stay cool so that the butter stays solid. You start with a layer of dough surrounding a thick layer of butter. Then you roll it out and fold it over so the layers of dough/butter get progressively thinner. Each time you fold it into 3rds. With 6 turns, you get 3^6 or 729 layers of butter. Then when you bake it, the moisture in the butter (butter is about 20% water) evaporates and forms steam, which causes the dough to puff.

I was a little worried how it would come out when I made the dough. I guess I added way too much water so the dough was really sticky. As in almost batter type sticky. So then I had to add flour.

Then the recipe said very cold butter so I took the butter from the freezer. That was a bad idea. When I went to roll it out, the dough was soft and the butter was hard so then the butter tore right through the dough. So I let it warm up a bit to let the butter soften and tried to fold the dough around it.

I managed to get it together but between the wet dough and the over kneading, the dough ended up getting overworked. My puff pastry actually had some chewiness to it. I am not sure how I feel about this. The flavor was decent.

I am not convinced it was worth the effort and all the cleaning of flour off every surface of my kitchen. Oh well. Maybe I will make it again just to say I can do it right.

These were the toppings I chose:
Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions
Smoked salmon cream cheese
caramelized apples

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.


Amanda said...

So impressed with everyone and their puff pastry skillz this month! I really need to get back on the Daring Baker horse. : /

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I bow down before you. I love puff pastry-- especially the frozen kind that I find at Trader Joe's during the holidays. Making it seems like so much work. You just confirmed it. Kudos to you for even doing it!
PS: Thanks for stopping by my blog!