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Megans Cookin: Daring Baker’s Challenge: Puffed Pastry!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Daring Baker’s Challenge: Puffed Pastry!

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.
 DB Puff pastry 028
Vols-au-Vent, pronounced voool-oh-vaw, are little bowls made from puffed pastry to hold what ever your little heart desires. Rather sweet or savory, they can make an eloquent main dish,  a daring dessert, or an impressive appetizer.
Puff pastry sounds like a lot of work and complicated, but it’s not really. Maybe a little time consuming or in my case, messy, but not hard! The dough comes together quickly in the food processor.  After rolling out the dough, you encase a pound of butter (no that is not a typo!) that you have beaten into a block. Just wrap the butter in the dough like wrapping a present.
DB Puff pastry 008
To get all those beautiful layers, you must turn the dough 6 times.. A “turn” is just rolling the dough out to 24 inches. then folding it into thirds. The secret to success is keeping the dough chilled. It it gets to warm, you’ll have melted butter oozing out. If that happens, just pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes.
DB Puff pastry 016
I only used a little bit of my dough but I got 3 nice Vols-au-Vent that I used for supper and six discs for dessert.  The rest I froze for another use.
DB Puff pastry 025
I was one happy little girl when they rose to the occasion! I impressed myself. ;-)
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I made my dinner ones with the filling that I used when I made Vegetable Pot Pies.
I know it’s a winner when the Darling Daughter says “YUM!”
DB Puff pastry 026
I used  some round disks to made a dessert with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream with fresh raspberries and  Chocolate Raspberry Dessert Sauce. 
Again I heard those sweet words from the family, “YUMMY!”
DB Puff pastry 038

I would like to thank Barbara and April for baking with me this month via Twitter. It was my pleasure ladies. I encourage everyone to go check out their adventure with puff pastry and well as the Daring Baker’s Blogroll.


Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough

(Printable Recipe)

From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

Prep Times:
-about 4-5 hours to prepare the puff pastry dough (much of this time is inactive, while you wait for the dough to chill between turns…it can be stretched out over an even longer period of time if that better suits your schedule)

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
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.
NOTE: There is a wonderful on-line video from the PBS show “Baking with Julia” that accompanies the book. In it, Michel Richard and Julia Child demonstrate making puff pastry dough (although they go on to use it in other applications).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lookin good!!! Your chicken pot pie filling is now on my list!!!!

September 28, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bakes said...

Great job on this challenge. I'm sure that was a fabulous pot pie! I like your rolling mat. Maybe I should get something like that. It was fun baking together!

September 28, 2009 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Shelby said...

What an awesome job Megan! It looks fabulous!

September 28, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger April said...

Both of your variations look wonderful! Thanks for letting me bake with you two this month! It was so much fun1

September 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Great job on the challenge! They turned out perfect!

September 28, 2009 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Ooooh, both versions look so tasty! I love chicken pot pie...what a lavish variation! :)

September 28, 2009 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger Coleens Recipes said...

I am totally impressed with your pastry skills. I just don't have that kine of patience. It looks delicious!!!

September 28, 2009 at 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Nutmeg Nanny said...

Your pastry looks great! I love your filling choice...yum! My puffed pastry did not really was more hockey puck like...haha.

September 28, 2009 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Those look great. I like the idea of a pot pie filling. I'm very excited to find out the next challenge. This is addictive!

September 28, 2009 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Reeni said...

These both look heavenly delicious!!! Just beautiful.

September 28, 2009 at 6:39 PM  
Anonymous Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Your vols-au-vent look fantastic. Love both the sweet and savory version! Well done :)

September 28, 2009 at 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great meeting you in SF!! Your vols-au-vent looks wonderful. I need to go back and make them when I have time.

September 28, 2009 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Mary Bergfeld said...

You did a wonderful job with this challenge. Your photos are gorgeous and that pot pie(:-)) is to die for. Kudos.

September 29, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger stephchows said...

i can not believe you made puff pastry!! great job!

September 29, 2009 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Katy ~ said...

You are just the cat's pajamas. Truly awesome!! Wow!! (Applauding here for your outstanding effort!!)

September 29, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger tinyskillet said...

Beautiful! All your hard work payed off! They do look yummmm.

September 29, 2009 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Gorgeous! I love puff versatile! When I was teaching we did a whole unit on the stuff and let the kids get creative. That pot pie filling is making me hungry!

September 29, 2009 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

What a great challenge and great execution of it! ;) Yum!

September 29, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Rico said...

Lovely ideas and inspirational stuff here loved the desert. yum yum kisses xxx

October 1, 2009 at 4:02 AM  
Blogger Ingrid_3Bs said...

Great job!! You can see all the distinct layers! Very cool that you baked along with April & Barbara!

October 3, 2009 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Selena Ze Arteest said...

I see now how they make this type of baking :)

October 11, 2009 at 1:38 AM  

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