how to make a vol au vent

This is a recipe for a French vol au vent. That literally means that it’s full of it. It a puff pastry box with a lid. That I remember was used to serve as a serving bowl or plate. So you were not expected to eat this show boat

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editor's note

A vol au vent is a puff pastry show boat. That people used to serve ragout. Ragout, as named in the French kitchen, is a warm thick sauce. Filled with cooked pieces of chicken fillets or baked mushrooms. I use vol au vents to slowly bake marinated meat or fish. Like sardines fillets, smoked salmon or leftover boeuf bourguignon. Check my recipe for warm sardine fillets & blue cheese spread P.S. the best results for puffed pastry. Is to use an oven that provides both upper and lower heat)

TOOLS

  • an oven
  • a fork or whisk
  • a knife or pastry brush
  • 2 oven dishes or baking dishes
  • a small bowl
  • a small plate (or pastry ring)
  • a glass (or smaller pastry ring)

ingredients

  1. Puff Pastry Sheets 
  2. 1 egg (size L)
  3. butter or baking parchment (to protect pastry to get stuck)

steps (PREP. & ACTUAL COOKING)

  1. Preheat oven (200ºC)
  2. Butter your dishes, or fold in with baking parchment
  3. Remove pastry sheets from freezer or fridge
  4. Open package and lay out sheets on a clean counter
  5. Break egg and pour content in a small bowl
  6. Whisk egg lightly
  7. Take one sheet*
  8. Optional: calculate how many circles you could get out of each sheet
  9. The largest pastry ring or a small plate is your tool to cut out dough
  10. The smallest pastry ring (or glass) is your tool to cut out the inner circle)
  11. Let’s make the base first. That is a circle (largest size of your ring)
  12. Cut out the base
  13. Place it in buttered or in baking parchment covered dish
  14. Coat the base with egg mix
  15. Cut out a new circle with ring or plate
  16. And cut out its inner circle with smallest ring or the hollow side of a glass
  17. Carefully cover your puff pastry base with a ring
  18. Coat the ring with egg mix
  19. Continue to cut out outer rings and place them on top of the previous ring
  20. Do not forget to coat each ring with egg mix
  21. When there is no dough left
  22. Assemble all small circles (that you previously cut out from the larger circles)
  23. Take the second baking dish and place the first circle
  24. Coat the base with egg mix
  25. And continue to stack all inner circles
  26. Each cemented with a bit of egg mix
  27. Slide both dishes into the middle of hot oven
  28. Turn up the heat to 220ºC
  29. And set the time for 30 min.
  30. Check after 30 min. whether the top layer is not getting too brown
  31. If yes, turn down the heat to 200ºC
  32. Set the timer for 20 min.
  33. Check whether all layers of puff pastry are flaky
  34. In case some layers still have this greasy outlook. Let them continue to bake for another 10 min.
  35. When all layers have risen. Remove dishes from the oven
  36. Fill the pastry box with ragout or any other fillings
  37. Cover box with its matching hat

*each region or supermarket brand has its own size. Hence my careful instructions. In Holland we have small square pastry sheets. 

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