Three-mushroom Vol-au-vents

Preparation info

  • Serves

    6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

    • Ready in

      3 hr

Appears in

The French Kitchen: A Cookbook

The French Kitchen

By Joanne Harris and Fran Warde

Published 2002

  • About

Vol-au-vent means ‘blown on the wind’, and these little pastries should be almost as light as air.

Ingredients

For the puff pastry

  • 200 g flour
  • 25 g lard, cut into small pieces
  • 175 g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 150 ml icy water
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing

    Method

    To make the pastry, put the flour in a bowl, add the lard and 25 g of the butter (cut it into pieces first) and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icy water, mixing it in with a round-bladed knife until a ball forms. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and quickly knead the pastry until even and smooth, then wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

    Lightly dust a cool work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to approximately 12cm x 25cm. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and dot over the rolled-out pastry. Fold a third of the pastry over towards the centre, then fold the remaining single layer over to make 3 layers. Press the edges together to stop the butter escaping.

    Turn it 90 degrees, lightly dust and roll out once more to the above size. Again, turn the pastry 90 degrees, fold 3 times and press the edges together. Roll out and repeat one more time. Wrap and place in the fridge to chill and relax for 30 minutes. Remove and repeat the above process before chilling for another 30 minutes. Then repeat the whole process one more time. (You could buy prepared vol-au-vent cases, but this is more fun, and the result is better.)

    Heat the oven to 220°C/gas 7.

    Roll out the pastry to 5mm thickness and cut out 12 small or 6 large rounds with a pastry cutter. Place them on a damp baking sheet and return to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Take a cutter half the size of your first one and make indentations in the centre of each pastry circle, being careful not to cut all the way through to the baking sheet. Take a small knife and knock up all around the edges of the vol-au-vent cases to help the pastry to rise in crispy layers.

    Brush the top of each case with the beaten egg, making sure no egg goes down the sides where it will glue the layers together and undo the effect of your knocking up. Bake for 30 minutes. While the cases are baking, make the filling.

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms and shallots, and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly. If there are a lot of juices in the pan, increase the heat and cook until they reduce. Remove 6 mushrooms for garnish, and keep them warm. Add the cream, mustard, cognac and seasoning, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

    After the pastry cases have been in the oven for 30 minutes, take them out and lift out the centre of each pastry case, putting it to one side. Return the tray to the oven and cook for 3 more minutes, then fill with the mushroom mixture, top with the reserved mushrooms and the pastry caps, and serve.