Vol Au Vent. Recipe

Vol-au-vent is a classic French pastry dish that consists of a light, flaky puff pastry shell filled with a creamy and flavorful filling. The name "vol-au-vent" translates to "windblown" in English, referring to the delicate and airy nature of the pastry. This dish has been enjoyed in France since the 18th century, and it continues to be a popular choice for elegant appetizers or main course dishes.

Traditionally, vol-au-vent is made with a special type of puff pastry that requires careful handling and attention to detail. The pastry needs to be rolled out to a thickness of about an inch and a half, ensuring that it rises properly during baking. A fluted tin of the same size as the serving dish is used to cut out the base of the vol-au-vent, while a smaller piece is rolled out to serve as the lid.

One interesting fact about vol-au-vent is that it is known for its versatility. While the classic filling is a white fricassee of chicken, other variations can include seafood, mushrooms, or even sweet fillings like fruit compote or pastry cream. The key to a successful vol-au-vent is to choose a filling that pairs well with the light and buttery pastry, creating a harmonious combination of flavors and textures.

Now, let's dive into a delicious recipe for vol-au-vent:

- 1 batch of puff pastry (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about an inch and a half. Use a fluted tin of the same size as your serving dish to cut out the base, and a smaller piece to serve as the lid. Transfer the pastry pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake the pastry in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. Remove from the oven and let them cool.

4. In the meantime, prepare the filling. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until translucent.

5. Add the chicken cubes to the skillet and cook until they are no longer pink in the center. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

6. In the same skillet, add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they are golden brown and any liquid has evaporated. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and set aside.

7. Reduce the heat to low, and add the flour to the skillet, stirring constantly to cook the flour without browning it.

8. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, ensuring that there are no lumps. Cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens.

9. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked chicken and mushrooms back to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

10. To assemble the vol-au-vent, carefully remove the top of the larger pastry base to create a hollow shell. Scoop out the crumb from the center, leaving a well to fill with the chicken and mushroom mixture.

11. Fill the pastry shell with the creamy filling, ensuring that it is generously filled but not overflowing. Place the smaller pastry lid on top.

12. Return the filled vol-au-vent to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until heated through.

13. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.

Now, let's talk about similar recipes to vol-au-vent. One classic example is the "pithivier," another French puff pastry dish that is often filled with almond cream or a savory filling such as meat or vegetables. Pithivier is distinctive for its round shape and decorative scored pattern on the top pastry layer.

Another similar dish is the Italian "sfogliatelle," a shell-shaped pastry filled with ricotta cheese and flavored with orange or lemon zest. Sfogliatelle are known for their multiple layers of flaky pastry, created by folding and rolling out the dough multiple times.

In conclusion, vol-au-vent is a delightful pastry dish that showcases the lightness and flakiness of puff pastry. With its versatility and elegant presentation, it is a timeless favorite when it comes to appetizers and main course dishes. Whether filled with chicken, seafood, or sweet fillings, this classic French creation is sure to impress your guests with its delicate and flavorful combination of pastry and filling.



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