Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Bakers go French!

I am back from a 3 month hiatus from the Daring Bakers. If you haven't heard of them, you really should check them out. It is a great way to learn new things, such as this month....puff pastry!!! I really didn't expect it to turn out, but it did, and I am a giddy little girl!


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.
I was surprised at how easy this really was. A few basic ingredients and a little bit of time and there you go. I did break mine up into 2 days. The first day, I mixed the dough, beat the butter, rolled and folded the dough a total of 6 turns, while tweeting with Megan and Barbara. These 2 girlies were a blast to bake along with. Then, I let the dough chill over night. The next day, gave it a good roll out, cut into shapes and baked.
The next step was to decide on a filling. This was the hardest part! I decided that I would go with a cinnamon pastry cream with sauteed apples. Fall is finally here and thought this is a great way to celebrate! Well, I had a little issue with the pastry cream...it clumped,but it still stated good. So, I let it chill overnight and when I came back the next day, it was hard as a rock!!! I probably cooked it too long and didn't temper the eggs good enough...so...plan B. Cinnamon whipped cream with sauteed apples, just as good!
Here it is...Vols-Au-Vent with Cinnamon Whipped Cream topped with Sauteed Apples!
Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough
From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough
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
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.
Cinnamon whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
3 TBSP sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Whip the whipping cream on medium speed, gradually add in the sugar and then add in the cinnamon. Whip until stiff peaks form.
Sauteed Apples (I could eat these by themselves!)
1/4 cup butter
4 large tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples and cook stirring constantly until apples are almost tender, 6-7 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in water, add to skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.


10 comments:

Lauren said...

We both went for similar fillings - I opted for spiced apple and custard, but your vol-au-vents have risen perfectly. Very jealous.

They look wonderful.

Barbara Bakes said...

Your rise on your vol-au-vents is spectacular! The fillings sounds perfect for fall! It was so fun baking with you! I need to find out the story of your blog name and your posted by April name.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Look beautiful!!! I love the autumn flavor to your filling. Must have been delicious!

Megan said...

I don't know - you make it sound so easy!

And they look so delicious!

rookie baker said...

hmmmm puff pastry.. sadly i dont have the nerve to make them :(

The Blushing Hostess said...

OMG you brave soul! Well done. And a lovely blog, I will read along with you!

Ingrid said...

YAY! You did great! It looks fantastic, so yummy!
~ingrid

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your pastry definitely has the "WOW" factor! Even though this is a process, you make it sound so easy.

Megan said...

I'm glad your back and we got to bake together. I think it's so much more fun to do it together then just on my own. Yours look terrific and I love the apple cinnamon combo. It wasn't really that hard either, you think?

Valerie said...

How pretty. It looks like it would taste delish!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daring Bakers go French!

I am back from a 3 month hiatus from the Daring Bakers. If you haven't heard of them, you really should check them out. It is a great way to learn new things, such as this month....puff pastry!!! I really didn't expect it to turn out, but it did, and I am a giddy little girl!


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.
I was surprised at how easy this really was. A few basic ingredients and a little bit of time and there you go. I did break mine up into 2 days. The first day, I mixed the dough, beat the butter, rolled and folded the dough a total of 6 turns, while tweeting with Megan and Barbara. These 2 girlies were a blast to bake along with. Then, I let the dough chill over night. The next day, gave it a good roll out, cut into shapes and baked.
The next step was to decide on a filling. This was the hardest part! I decided that I would go with a cinnamon pastry cream with sauteed apples. Fall is finally here and thought this is a great way to celebrate! Well, I had a little issue with the pastry cream...it clumped,but it still stated good. So, I let it chill overnight and when I came back the next day, it was hard as a rock!!! I probably cooked it too long and didn't temper the eggs good enough...so...plan B. Cinnamon whipped cream with sauteed apples, just as good!
Here it is...Vols-Au-Vent with Cinnamon Whipped Cream topped with Sauteed Apples!
Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough
From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough
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
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.
Cinnamon whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
3 TBSP sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Whip the whipping cream on medium speed, gradually add in the sugar and then add in the cinnamon. Whip until stiff peaks form.
Sauteed Apples (I could eat these by themselves!)
1/4 cup butter
4 large tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples and cook stirring constantly until apples are almost tender, 6-7 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in water, add to skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.


10 comments:

Lauren said...

We both went for similar fillings - I opted for spiced apple and custard, but your vol-au-vents have risen perfectly. Very jealous.

They look wonderful.

Barbara Bakes said...

Your rise on your vol-au-vents is spectacular! The fillings sounds perfect for fall! It was so fun baking with you! I need to find out the story of your blog name and your posted by April name.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Look beautiful!!! I love the autumn flavor to your filling. Must have been delicious!

Megan said...

I don't know - you make it sound so easy!

And they look so delicious!

rookie baker said...

hmmmm puff pastry.. sadly i dont have the nerve to make them :(

The Blushing Hostess said...

OMG you brave soul! Well done. And a lovely blog, I will read along with you!

Ingrid said...

YAY! You did great! It looks fantastic, so yummy!
~ingrid

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your pastry definitely has the "WOW" factor! Even though this is a process, you make it sound so easy.

Megan said...

I'm glad your back and we got to bake together. I think it's so much more fun to do it together then just on my own. Yours look terrific and I love the apple cinnamon combo. It wasn't really that hard either, you think?

Valerie said...

How pretty. It looks like it would taste delish!