Welcome back to baking on a budget! I experienced some difficulties with these due to lack of proper equipment. Cookie cutters would have been a HUGE help when it came to cutting the circles out of the pastry (I definitely bought some for the second time I tried these), instead I used the next logical choice – the circular bottom of a toothpick package.
This particular pack was extra helpful as it had another ring inside it which perfectly marked where I would cut the inside circle out of half the batch to make the top rings. The real trouble came when I had to actually start cutting, I used a knife, but the softer the pastry became the more difficult it was to cut. Getting these pieces out of the pastry involved lots of slow dotting with the knife to form a sort of perforated line, then cutting that away to pull out the full circle. To then make it even more time-consuming I had to perform the same task again on a smaller circle inside half of those I had already cut (first-world-on-a-budget problems!). I ended up with only 12 Vol au Vents because I was plain lazy! They were not British Bake Off standard, to say the least.
I decided to get experimental with all of the leftover pastry. Do people normally make croissants out of puff pastry?? I don’t know, but I’ll be honest with you, mine didn’t turn out so great and they ended up in the bin. Not even my boyfriend and I, animals that we are, would eat them.
Lots of guessing and checking random vol au vent recipes online went into deciding on an oven temperature and bake time. In the end I went for 180 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes. In hindsight they definitely could have gone another few minutes in the oven, they looked quite pale and not as puffy as one might hope!
Overall though, I was happy with how they turned out for a first time making my own puff pastry. I piped in some crème patisserie, and got creative using a freezer bag, which had a double corner…making it completely useless as a piping bag. With two thick streams of custard gushing into my vol au vents, it was not the clean, sophisticated decorating session I had imagined. I covered up some of the mess by adding some fresh raspberries and blueberries, they didn’t look half bad.
The second batch of puff pastry turned out A LOT better, it helped that I had cookie cutters to make the process faster and much neater! I left them in the oven for a bit longer to get them golden brown, with a nice rise.
I decided to get extra creative by flavouring the custard with orange, and dipping the rims in dark chocolate…chocolate orange! Things got a bit messy when it came to the dipping.
To flavour the custard I added orange zest to the milk while it was heating, hoping that might help infuse the flavour (I sieved it out before adding it to the yolk and sugar mixture). I also added orange essence to the final custard.
I had also made profiteroles and imagined, somehow, that one batch of crème pat would fill 24 profiteroles AND 20 vol au vents….ummmm! So when I inevitably ran out of crème pat it was late and I couldn’t be bothered to make more so I took some lovely photos of the ones that were finished (for insta of course), meanwhile the reality was a bunch of chocolate dipped, but empty, vol au vents and some unfilled profiteroles. Did they all get filled in the end you ask? Nope! HA! My boyfriend and I, like the savages we are, slowly picked at them over the next few days. We started with the custard filled ones, of course, but we really hit rock bottom when we began breaking the chocolate dipped rims off the vol au vents and discarding the bases. So there is some reality for you guys, don’t believe everything you see on instgram!!
What you see on insta:
What you don’t see:
Sending love and pixie dust,