Monday, 28 September 2009

Daring to Relax

Another month has flown by and my, what a month it has been. Things at work have gone from being busy to being down right crazy, with orders flowing in from all directions and big department stores queuing up to get our cookies into their foodhalls. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bragging or complaining here. I'm just trying to explain why, when I opened up the Daring Bakers website this month and saw that our challenge this time will be Vol-au-vents, I didn't exactly jump with joy.

I love working with pastry and really wished that this challenge had been set at a less hectic time. I could have spent hours in the kitchen, making all sorts of different shapes and sizes, each batch getting a different delicious and creamy filling to make all of the senses pop. Unfortunately, I was lacking both the time and the energy for this sort of venture, and therefore decided to make only a small portion of the pastry and to use it for large vol-au-vents for one of our mid-week dinners.

After reading through the pages of discussion from the other Daring Bakers, and realising that many of them did not succeed on their first go, I was a bit hesitant on using one of my rare days off to make the pastry. However, I was determined not to let this challenge pass me by and after deciding to just go for it, got my rolling pin out. I was only a few minutes into the process, getting ready to roll the butter into the leaves of the beautiful, soft dough when I realised that I was starting to relax and I could actually feel the stresses of my month rolling away with each turn of the pastry.

By the time the pastry was ready to finally roll out and cut into the required discs, I was so relaxed and happy to be in my own kitchen again, that my head was buzzing with ideas of fillings for the gloriously golden, wonderfully risen cups. After a quick rummage through my fridge, I decided on a delicate and soft, whole grain mustard flecked, cream cheese filling, topped with a wafer thin slice of smoked salmon, a small and piquant peppadew pepper and a bright green sprig of rocket. Needless to say, leftovers were not a problem and I luckily remembered to snap a picture of them before they dissapeared into hungry tummies.

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.


  1. Hey, found you on the DB blogroll, your puff looks great! I think the repetitive nature of the folding makes it quite a relaxing process too.