Sunday, September 27, 2009
Daring Bakers September - Pâte Feuilletée
It is time consuming, but certainly not difficult, to make puff pastry from scratch. This flaky, buttery dough lends itself to sweet and savory applications, and can elevate an everyday dish to something elegant.
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. A vol-au-vent is a puff pastry bowl or shell, made by cutting disks and rings from rolled pastry, and stacking them together. The whole thing puffs up into hundreds of light, crisp golden brown layers.
My favorite thing to ladle into vols-au-vent is boeuf bourgignon, a hearty and heady French beef stew made with red wine. It's one of the more decadent stews around, which makes it a natural pair with buttery puff pastry. I followed Julia Child's recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, except that I used an additional carrot, and wish that I would have upped that even further, as I love the color that they add to an otherwise "brown" dish.
I have lots of extra puff dough, and am looking forward to turning it into palmiers and cheese straws later this week. Some dough will get stashed in the freezer, to be thawed at a future date for a yet unnamed project. It's a good thing to have on hand.