Vol-au-vent is a puffy tartlet from flaky dought. Dough raises up during baking and takes shape of a small cup or basket. Variety of fillings go into baked dough baskets and they are served cold or hot.
Vol-au-vents are of French origin, first time made by French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Name of this pastry points to the type of dough used in it. The initial idea behind volauvents was to make them very lite as opposed to the ones made of shortcrust dough. There is another name for vol-au-vents – bouchées. Authorship of first bouchées is attributed to wife of King Louis XV, Maria Leschinsky. She loved small single bite type of foods and hence the name – “bouchées à la reine”, queen’s bites.
Despite of vol-au-vents French origin, they are very popular in Russian cuisine, you can find variety of their recipes in old cook books of Soviet time.
For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.
My new still life - Zakusky: Traditional Russian Small Plates
Vol-au-vents are popular worldwide as well. They are usually made a “single bite size”, but occasionally you can find large ones too stuffed with meat or fish. These usually are the main course and served covered. Regardless of size though, flaky dough is always the main ingredient. Large volauvents are baked first, then stuffed and baked again. They are served hot with variety of sauces.
Stuffing options are virtually unlimited – caviar, mushrooms, meat, cheeses, seafood, veggie salads, sweet mousses etc. Flemish vol-au-vents are stuffed with chicken, meatballs and mushroom sauce. If you would like your table to look festive, one of the best decorations – assorted vol-au-vents, everyone can grab a bite sized snack for their own taste. Great vegetarian stuffing option is feta cheese with pesto sauce and tomatoes. These are delicious! Experiment and give freedom to your imagination in picking your stuffing. Vol-au-vents are good sweet or non-sweet, they work perfectly as desserts when whipped cream and fruits are used as stuffing.
Vol-au-vents with Creamy Mushrooms & Shrimp
Note: A one pound of puff pastry will make between six and eight vols-au-vent depending on the size.
- 1 lb. frozen puff pastry, just thawed
- 1 egg for an egg wash
- 1/2 lb. shrimp, cleaned, peeled, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled, diced
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp butter, melted
- 1 tsp flour
- 1 cup water or vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup cream
- fresh dill for garnish (optional)
- salmon caviar for garnish (optional)
On a lightly floured surface roll your pastry out to somewhere between a third and half an inch in thickness. Using 2 5/8 inch fluted cutters or plain cutters cut out 12-16 circles. Then using 1 inch cutter cut out the center of the half of your circles. Now dock the bases with a fork to discourage puffing. Then paint it with egg wash and lay the rings down on the bases. Brush the tops with egg wash also and let them rest in refrigerator for about half hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Cover your baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the vols-au-vents on prepared baking tray. Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown. And that’s pretty much it! Cool them, fill them with whatever you want and eat!
I made a mushroom and shrimp filling with cream sauce.
To make the filling: heat the olive oil in frying pan over medium high heat. Add the finely diced onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally until softened and onions are translucent. Add the shrimp. Cook for about 3-5 minutes more. Add the white wine, cook until almost all the liquid has been evaporated.
Mix the butter and flour together to form a roux. Add it to the new skillet and cook for one minute. Add the stock/water and reduce until thick. Add cream. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt and pepper as desired. Pour the sauce over shrimp mixture, mix well and cook for a couple more minutes.
Spoon the filling to vols-au-vents. Top each with fresh herbs and caviar if you like.