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.
It took me forever to get to this challenge. In part because we had the warmest September in quite sometime and partly because September was just a really busy month. But, I was very excited to try puff pastry so I didn't want to let this challenge pass me by. So, I got to it, and here I am, one week late, posting about it.
I made the full recipe of puff pastry and it was great. Making the pastry itself was actually quite fun. You put the flour and water together in a food processor, and then once you have a workable dough, you put your flattened pound of butter inside it and wrap it up. Then, you get to do several turns of the dough where you roll it out, fold it up, turn it and roll it out, fold it up again. In between it goes into the fridge. I have never made dough like this before so it was a complete new experience but one that I would definitely repeat again. It was fun and it actually worked!! Then, when it's time to cut out your pastry it's quite fun building the little vols-au-vents. Here is the pastries after baking but before filling...
The recipe makes quite a bit and I used it three different times, with three different fillings:
Filling #1 is what I like to call, shrimp sensation. It was made up of shrimp, green onions, corn, cheddar, cream cheese, pepper and salt. It worked out really nice and we were blown away with how buttery and lovely the pastry worked. I didn't know for sure if it would but it was fun watching it grow in the oven. This filling was tasty and we enjoyed it, even though it was a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Filling #2 was a sausage dip. We used hot Italian sausages (2), and fried them up without the casings, then added cream cheese, sour cream, diced green peppers, cheddar cheese, paprika, pepper and salt. Again, they were tasty. This time around we made big ones and little small appetizer sized ones. They got excellent reviews from our samplers.
Filling #3 was a coconut cream custard made of coconut milk, cream, whole milk, vanilla bean, toasted coconut, egg yolks, a whole egg and sugar. It was fantastic. I drizzled chocolate over them to give them a finished look. Our taste testers once again approved with how they turned out.
It was a lot of fun playing with this dough and trying both sweet and savoury options. And now, I am no longer afraid of puff pastry and look forward to making it again someday. Or maybe I'll my phyllo pastry, or croissants, or something else. Bring it on I tell you, bring it on...