Homemade Puff Pastry and Vol-au-vents

by Julie Ruble on September 27, 2009 · 98 comments

Have you ever pulled something out of the oven and felt like a rock star? Felt giddy and awed at the first bite? Been so incredibly proud of a recipe you were inexplicably able to complete that you thought about framing the resulting photos for your desk at work? Okay, okay, maybe that’s a little much. But all silliness aside, there are turning points in my life as a baker where I feel like I “level up,” or gain a skill or technique that previously seemed too daunting for me to contemplate. This past Daring Bakers challenge was one of those turning points.

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.


New baking supplies for the challenge.

Vol-au vents are simply cups of puff pastry stuffed with delicious savory or sweet fillings. That part sounds easy. But homemade puff pastry? I have to admit, I was very nervous. The recipe looked especially daunting considering my love-hate relationship with my rolling pin. I think we’ve smoothed things out, but every now and then I still feel like giving him a good whomp against the counter to adjust his attitude. And even apart from rolling pin troubles, puff pastry is just a fickle, time consuming creation. It’s made by enveloping an entire pound of butter (Heyyy, Paula Deen!) in the dough (called a détrempe). Once the butter is wrapped up like a present, you make a series of six “turns” (tri-folds) in the dough, rolling it out between each (and refrigerating often to maintain workability). This website has a useful pictorial of the turning process, but I bet you’d love to see Julia Child and Michel Richard making it in real-time, wouldn’t you? Your wish is my command! Here’s the fun part: once you have all those lovely layers of butter and dough in the oven, the water content of the butter turns into steam, inflating your pastry. If all goes well, you end up with a fluffy, buttery bit of heaven.

After watching the video above several times over, I dragged my load of doubts and worries into the kitchen and set to work with a furrowed brow. My dough seemed too sticky, my butter pounding scared little Byrd to death, and my envelope kept threatening to break and expose my butter. Nevertheless, I trudged on, hoping that somehow, my little pastries would puff their hearts out in the oven. And guess what?

It worked! It worked! It worked! It’s unfortunate (or maybe not, since Mike’s eardrums are probably sore) that you couldn’t hear me shouting those two little words as I leapt around my apartment after taking these out of the oven. It was like magic! Little disks of dough turning into lovely, sophisticated pastries via unseen processes within their layers. And not only were the pastries puffy, they were out of this world delicious. I burned each one of my little fingertips to bits (not to mention my tongue) eating them straight out of the oven. Mike liked them too! Byrd was indifferent.

I chose to stuff my vol-au-vents with both savory and sweet fillings. My savory vol-au-vent was filled with smooth goat cheese mousse with a drizzle of fresh, homemade pesto on top. The pesto was gorgeous — made with toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh basil (including some huge sprigs from the garden beside my classroom — did I mention that I love my school?) The tangy goat cheese and rich pesto were such a delicious combination.

Goat Cheese Mousse and Basil Pesto


Recipe By:

-Shirl on RecipeZaar (goat cheese mousse)
-Elise on Simply Recipes

Yields: About 1/2 cup mousse and 1/2 cup pesto

Goat Cheese Mousse Ingredients:
8 ounces fresh goat cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, lightly whipped

Basil Pesto Ingredients:
1 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/6 cup pine nuts, toasted
1.5 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
To make the mousse, process the goat cheese in a clean food processor until smooth. Add the whipped cream and blend just until incorporated.

To make the pesto, combine the basil and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on low (if storing, reserve half the oil — see note below). Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Note: If storing and not using immediately, reserve half the oil. Place pesto in airtight container and drizzle reserved oil over top. Freeze or refrigerate.

My dessert plate was designed as a walk through the seasons. Spring was represented by Smitten Kitchen’s tangy mango curd, a sweet raspberry, and a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Summer was simple: homemade whipped cream and berries.

Finally, autumn was one of my favorites (in fact, you’ve seen it a few times here recently!): baked peach crisp. I baked some peaches, brown sugar, white sugar, oats, and toasted pecans in a dish before spooning the hot mixture into my puff pastry and (you know what’s coming, right?) topped it with a dollop of whipped cream! Next time I think I’ll add the toasted pecans over top of the peach mixture at the end. All of these dessert vol-au-vents were incredible in their buttery pastry cups, but our favorite by far was the Mango Curd Raspberry Vol-au-vent!


Peach Crisp Vol-au-vent



Raspberries and Cream Vol-au-vent



Mango Curd Raspberry Vol-au-vent

Mango Curd


Recipe By: Smitten Kitchen (mango curd)
Yields: About 1 to 1.5 cups

Ingredients:
1 15-ounce ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar (might reduce this to 1/3 cup next time, to keep the curd more tart)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible. Discard solids in sieve.

Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover (place plastic wrap on surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate overnight. Can freeze for up to 2 months.

I’m grateful for the Daring Bakers for many reasons: the exciting recipes shared, the fantastic friendships made, the gorgeous blogs to visit. For this challenge, though, I especially want to thank Steph and the Daring Bakers for a huge confidence boost! I hope you’ll decide to give puff pastry a try. It’s a manageable beast, and the resulting dough freezes well to use for months to come. Even besides those practicalities, though, it feels like such a satisfying kitchen accomplishment!

Puff Pastry and Vol-au-vents


Recipe By: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yields: Using 1/3 of the dough yields about 9 2-inch vol-au-vents

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter

plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Directions:

Mixing the Dough:
Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that’s about 1″ thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:
Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10″ square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with “ears,” or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don’t just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8″ square.

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:
Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24″ (don’t worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24″, everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24″ and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:
If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you’ve completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.

Steph’s extra tips:

  • While this is not included in the original recipe we are using (and I did not do this in my own trials), many puff pastry recipes use a teaspoon or two of white vinegar or lemon juice, added to the ice water, in the détrempe dough. This adds acidity, which relaxes the gluten in the dough by breaking down the proteins, making rolling easier. You are welcome to try this if you wish.
  • Keep things cool by using the refrigerator as your friend! If you see any butter starting to leak through the dough during the turning process, rub a little flour on the exposed dough and chill straight away. Although you should certainly chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns, if you feel the dough getting to soft or hard to work with at any point, pop in the fridge for a rest.
  • Not to sound contradictory, but if you chill your paton longer than the recommended time between turns, the butter can firm up too much. If this seems to be the case, I advise letting it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to give it a chance to soften before proceeding to roll. You don’t want the hard butter to separate into chuncks or break through the dough…you want it to roll evenly, in a continuous layer.
  • Roll the puff pastry gently but firmly, and don’t roll your pin over the edges, which will prevent them from rising properly. Don’t roll your puff thinner than about about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick, or you will not get the rise you are looking for.
  • Try to keep “neat” edges and corners during the rolling and turning process, so the layers are properly aligned. Give the edges of the paton a scooch with your rolling pin or a bench scraper to keep straight edges and 90-degree corners.
  • Brush off excess flour before turning dough and after rolling.
  • Make clean cuts. Don’t drag your knife through the puff or twist your cutters too much, which can inhibit rise.
  • When egg washing puff pastry, try not to let extra egg wash drip down the cut edges, which can also inhibit rise.
  • Extra puff pastry dough freezes beautifully. It’s best to roll it into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (similar to store-bought puff) and freeze firm on a lined baking sheet. Then you can easily wrap the sheet in plastic, then foil (and if you have a sealable plastic bag big enough, place the wrapped dough inside) and return to the freezer for up to a few months. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.
  • You can also freeze well-wrapped, unbaked cut and shaped puff pastry (i.e., unbaked vols-au-vent shells). Bake from frozen, without thawing first.
  • Homemade puff pastry is precious stuff, so save any clean scraps. Stack or overlap them, rather than balling them up, to help keep the integrity of the layers. Then give them a singe “turn” and gently re-roll. Scrap puff can be used for applications where a super-high rise is not necessary (such as palmiers, cheese straws, napoleons, or even the bottom bases for your vols-au-vent).


Vol-au-vents ready to go into the oven, and then baking under a silicon mat.



Pesto fixings.

Don’t forget to cruise the Daring Bakers blogroll to see all of the creative vol-au-vents fillings other chefs chose.

Now I want to hear from you: what was your proudest culinary achievement?

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{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

Vivian September 27, 2009 at 1:38 am

They look delectable! I am very proud that you have taken such an interest in cooking! :)

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Thanks Mom! I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for you!

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Vivian September 27, 2009 at 1:38 am

Ummm… how about sewing next?

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I think I’ll leave that one to you :)

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Angela September 27, 2009 at 6:53 am

I love the combinations you produced! I think I would have to go for the goats cheese and pesto option, unusual for me as I have a terrible sweet tooth… Well done (I chickened out this month!)!

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Thank you, Angela!

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isabelle September 27, 2009 at 8:05 am

c’est superbe et ton feuilletage est bien réussi ! tes garnitures me mettent l’eau à la bouche :)

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Merci beaucoup, Isabelle!

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Karen September 27, 2009 at 8:24 am

I love your vou-au-vents especially the basil pesto! Btw your dog is adorable :)

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Thank you, Karen! Isn’t she the cutest?! She hams it up for the camera :)

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Barbara September 27, 2009 at 8:32 am

Love your beautiful hearts and flowers! They all sound like great flavor combinations!

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Thanks Barbara! My circle cookie cutters just weren’t the right size, but it worked out for the best!

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jo September 27, 2009 at 9:18 am

Great job on your challenge and it must have been really delicious to burn all your fingers. Love your filing combinations.

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm

It was the best finger burning I’ve ever experienced :D Thanks, Jo!

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Jenni September 27, 2009 at 10:27 am

Oh great job! And I totally agree with your first paragraph! Your puff pastry looks fantastic, and your fillings sound wonderful!

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Thank you, Jenni!!

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s September 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

so pretty and such creative fillings…

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Thanks, S!

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heather peskin September 27, 2009 at 11:55 am

Delightful! I can’t wait to try a savory pastry as well.

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Thank you, Heather!

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sara September 27, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Ooooh, delish! I love the idea of mango curd–I’ve never made it before but it sounds totally delicious! Yum!

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Thanks, Sara! It is REEEEALLY yummy!

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Sue September 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm

WOW!!! You went all-out! I love all the beautiful shapes and variety of fillings! Bravo!!! Gorgeous photos!
Yep, making puff pastry does make me fill more like a “real” baker too:)

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Aw, thank you, Sue! I know what you mean — it’s like we’ve completed some sort of baking rite of passage :D

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Dragon September 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I love your shapes. :) Great job on this month’s challenge.

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Thank you, Dragon!

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Beth September 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Your enthusiasm is infectious! So glad that you enjoyed this challenge, and that you overcame your fears of homemade puff pastry. They do look gorgeous!

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Thank you, Beth!

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Amy I. September 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Beautiful work! I adore your walk through the seasons, what a creative idea. I’d have to say that this challenge ranks right up there with my proudest culinary achievements too :)

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Thank you, Amy!!

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Megan September 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I felt the same way — about leveling up. This probably was my proudest moment so far.

I was so afraid that my puff pastry just wouldn’t work. I ran around shouting, “It puffed! It puffed!” Ha ha.

Yours are fabulous. I love your fillings… that goat cheese mousse sounds delightful, especially with pesto. And I’m a big fan of all of those dessert ones!

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Julie September 27, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Thank you, Megan! I know, right?! We should coin a term for the excitement felt by puff pastry makers everywhere upon glancing in the oven and realizing that IT’S WORKING. Maybe “pleased as puff” instead of punch. :)

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Sabiilaa September 28, 2009 at 4:30 am

Love your beautiful hearts and flowers! Gorgeous photos! yummmy fillings!

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Thank you, Sabiilaa!

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marcellina September 28, 2009 at 8:38 am

I giggled all the way thru your post. Yes, I too felt like a rock star! Very appropiate that your rolling pin is male!! Your vol au vents are fantastic and fillings delish!

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Thank you, Marcellina!! Oh, did you catch the gender I assigned my rolling pin?! :D Must have been a subconscious slip!

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Kim September 28, 2009 at 12:00 pm

You are too ambitious! Great job, they all look so yummy.

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Thanks, Kim!

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Meeta September 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm

wow! mango curd is a dream. i love all these varieties – a brilliant job on this challenge!

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Thank you, Meeta! We love that Smitten Kitchen mango curd recipe! Mmm!

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sarah September 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Haha I felt EXACTLY the same way when I saw my puffs were rising! Hmm proudest culinary moment…Well, I was stoked when I made swiss meringue buttercream, because my husband made it, and then when I tried it for the first time I completely screwed it up. I felt “behind” until I tried again and got it right!

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:07 pm

So funny, Sarah! Nothing like a little competition to make for a great moment in the kitchen :)

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Leann September 28, 2009 at 5:56 pm

very lovely and so light and flaky looking! :)

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Thank you, Leann!

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Lauren September 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Beautiful! I love the fillings you made – simply delicious =D. Wonderful job!

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Julie September 28, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Thank you, Lauren!

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missfattyfoodie September 29, 2009 at 12:26 am

they puffed up so nicely! your dog is so cute!

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Thank you, Miss Fatty Foodie :)

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zorra September 29, 2009 at 3:32 am

Wow, you became a Puff Pastry Pro! Well done.

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Thank you, Zorra! Who knows? After this good experience, maybe I’ll be making it again :D

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Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella September 29, 2009 at 3:48 am

I love yours to death! :D The shapes and the flavours are just top notch and I’m not surprised you felt like a rock star, these are truly Grammy award winning vols au vent! :D

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Aww, thank you so much Lorraine!! :) Wonder if Kanye will show up at my acceptance speech?

“Yo, yo Julie, I’mma let you finish — but Dorie Greenspan had the best puff pastry OF ALL TIME.” :D

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shaz September 29, 2009 at 8:04 am

Wow! Well done – love your walk through the seasons desert plate idea. And I hear you loud and clear – I often have “I did it!” moments (including a bit of dancing) when I pull something off in the kitchen :)

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I have them so often since joining the DBs! Such a wonderful group :) Thanks, Shaz!

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Lusa September 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

Thanks for visiting my blog. Love your post, I too felt extremely proud and amazed that it worked. I couldn’t stop saying ” look at how pretty these are”, to my husband. I also burnt my tongue while eating one hot out of the oven. :-)

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Thanks, Lusa!

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junglefrog September 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

They look beautiful!! And I am sure I made a similar dance when I took mine out of the oven..:))

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Thank you, Junglefrog!

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Aparna September 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm

These look gorgeous. And mango curd has to be my favourite!
The feeling of seeing those puff pastry cases rising in the oven is probably one of “those” experiences. I know I had one too. :)

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Julie September 29, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Thanks, Aparna! We adore mango curd. Mmmm!

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Jill September 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm

You had me at mango curd–they all looked so great and delicious!! GOOD JOB! :)

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 12:01 am

Thank you, Jill!! :D

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Jenny Tan September 30, 2009 at 12:33 am

I V-a-Vs looks yummi-licious! I love the fun shapes you have…and ohhhh the mango curd!!! I’ve gotta try that someday ~ huge fan of mango.
BTW, also love your reply to Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella… totally cracked me up! :D You rock! :)

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 1:04 am

HA, thanks Jenny!! Couldn’t resist ;)

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Rachel September 30, 2009 at 12:55 am

Yummy! Mango curd sounds and looks good!! :)

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 1:04 am

Thanks, Rachel!

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natalia September 30, 2009 at 1:29 am

Ciao ! I was very excited too, it was a scry and fun challenge ! I love the assortment of your fillings !!

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 1:34 am

Thank you, Natalia!

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Renato September 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I can’t believe I started watching that Julia Child video and I forgot to leave a comment, here! Really, that was a great finding!
And as good as that movie is your vol au vent! Really, they are amazing! All nice and puffed up! Congratulations!

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Aw, thank you, Renato!!

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steph (whisk/spoon) September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm

awesome puff– you should be so proud!! gorgeous puff, and a fantastic variety of yummy fillings! thanks for baking with me this month :)

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Thanks, Steph! It was such a great challenge!

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Sugar Chef September 30, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Love all the different shapes and fillings you did for the challenge and your dog, just too cute!!

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Thank you :)

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Blond Duck September 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Popped in to say hello! Those look wonderful. I need to get another silicone baking mat–my husband destroyed mine by mistake!

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Julie September 30, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Oops!! Silly husband! :)

Thanks, Blond Duck! Love your fun blog!

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Cheri October 1, 2009 at 4:39 am

Your vol au vents turned out so lovely! And, the fillings sound delicious!

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Coconut & Vanilla October 1, 2009 at 6:28 am

Hi,
found your blog, ’cause you left a comment on my blog :).
Nice bl0g you have. Like your writing and how you blog is structured (like those “frames” you have ’round your recipes).
Well done on the challenge! Especially the goats cheese and pesto filled vol au vents look delicious… getting hungry.

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lisamichele October 2, 2009 at 3:55 am

Julie, wow, what a beautiful job! It was fun reading how you scremed out when it worked. Been there, and I think I’ve broken a few ear drums..lol I love the goat cheese with pesto, and in fact, made a savory vols au vent myself with goat chese and pesto, but pistachio pesto with arugula in lieu of basil. Also adore the raspberries and cream..simple and perfect. Well done all around!

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Julie October 2, 2009 at 6:26 am

Thank you, Lisa! MMMmmm that pistachio arugula pesto sounds AMAZING. Definitely need to try that!

Arugula is one of my favorite flavors.

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kellypea October 2, 2009 at 7:54 am

Super cute shapes and what a variety of fillings! I’m drooling over the goat cheese basil combo. It would work just fine for breakfast for me about now!

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Julie October 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

Thank you, Kelly!! I wish I had more for breakfast too! :D

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Baking Monster October 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Everything looks great! I love puff pastry I alos love your blog!

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Julie October 2, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Thanks, Baking Monster! You have some delicious goodies on your blog! Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins?! Mmmm!!

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Vera October 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Perfection! Love all of them!

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Julie October 3, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Thank you, Vera!

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art and lemons October 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Pesto and goat cheese, a classic with a hint of surprise. Fabulous job!

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Julie October 7, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Thank you!

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Jeannie November 26, 2009 at 11:17 am

Hi there. I am doing some puffed pastry with vegetable cheese strudel today and was looking at your website and noticed that you had poked holes in your shapes prior to cooking. Is there a particular reason you did this – and if so – is it necessary as I have never done it in the past?

Thanks in advance, Jeannie

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Julie November 26, 2009 at 11:31 am

Hi Jeannie,

Do you mean the holes poked with the fork prior to baking? That’s called docking, and you do it to let some of the steam escape. It’s supposed to prevent the steam from over-puffing and deforming pastries. It keeps the base relatively even. I also dock pie crusts, etc., before baking, but some chefs don’t bother. Hope that helps! Good luck with your strudel — sounds delicious!

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Ferdinand Roper May 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm

If only I had a quarter for every time I came here! Great post.

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thekalechronicles October 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Those pesto-goat cheese things look like they should be illegal. Wow. I don’t have a food processor, but I’m sure there is a more old-fashioned way to make puff pastry.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Oh I’m sure! Grab that pastry cutter! :D

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Rosalind December 16, 2011 at 3:45 am

It’s so beautiful dear! Thank you so much for sharing .god bless you.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 20, 2011 at 6:21 am

Thank you, Rosalind! God bless you, too.

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