This was my first challenge with the Daring Bakers and it definitely wasn't for the faint of heart..we were tasked to make pâte feuilletée from scratch and use the dough to form vols-au-vent. You've probably seen vols-au-vent in your local supermarket, you just didn't know it. Pepperidge Farm makes a version called "Puff Pastry Shells".
Pâte Feuilletée belongs to the laminated dough family, which essentially means a water-based dough is layered with a block of cold butter. Croissants and danish are other examples of laminated doughs. To achieve the "puffiness" and height that is synonomous with puff pastry the dough is folded, or "turned", repeatedly with the butter so that you end up with lots of alternating layers. Once the cold dough hits a hot oven, steam is created from the water in the dough/butter evaporating. This causes the dough to lift and rise.
The pastry didn't rise as high as I would have liked, which I think was because I rushed the process. Unfortunately, good pastry requires a lot of patience, of which I didn't really have. Nevertheless, the pastry still tasted good! I filled the vols-au-vent with chicken pot pie filling and made mini tartlets with heirloom tomatoes, basil and parmesan with some of the leftover dough.
Looking forward to next month's challenge!
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.