Vol-au-vent  (open puff tartlets)

An open baked puff pastry case which can be filled with a sweet or savoury filling. They can vary in size from  small cocktail  to a large 18-20cm (6-8in) case. The smaller version is usually known as Bouchees. Can be square, oval but more commonly round.

The aim of the baker is to produce the perfect shape with a good even lift . Vol-au-vents are a good indicator to the quality and standard of the puff pastry being used. It is impeirative the the pasty being used has been produced to a very high standard i.e kept cool, allowed to rest between turns, manipulated correctly. 

This product can be made using shop bought ready made  puff pastry with good results but for the best results we suggest  using your own home made Pastry.

For puff pastry with a good even lift and lightness you will need to use a Full Puff virgin pastry (virgin puff contains no scrap or trimmings. There are a number of ways that vol-au-vents can be made, three Pufff which we give below.

Method 1   

    To produce  6 x 8cm (3in) vol-au-vents  you require 450g (1lb)  Full Puff pastry.

  1. Roll out virgin pastry to approx 3mm (1/8 in) thick. to form oblong 50cm (20in) x 18cm (7in) .
  2. Mark a line down the centre  but do not cut, to form 2 x 25cm x 18cm.
  3. With a 8cmm (3in) plain ring cutter mark out, do not cut, 6 evenly spaced circles (2 rows of 3).
  4. In the center of these circles cut out a smaller circle using a plain round 4cm (11/2in) cutter.
  5. Water wash this half containing the holes lightly.
  6. Fold over the unmarked/uncut half onto the cut /marked half . then turn paste over so that the holes can be seen.
  7. Using the 8cm (3in) plain round cutter, cut through both layersof pastry with the hole exactly in the centre.
  8. Place the cut out piece on to a clean  ,baking parchment linrd baking trayand prick the centre with a fork
  9. Egg wash the top outside edge taking care that no excsse egg runs down the outside or inside as this can inhibit the pastry from rising equally during baking.
  10. Allow the vol-au-vents 30mins to an hour to rest in a cool area before baking, this allows the gluten to fully relax and should ensure that the shape will be retained and reduce the chance of shrinkage.
  11. Egg wash a second time remembering to take care that the egg does not run down the sides.
  12. Bake in a hot oven 225C, 205C Fan, 440F, Gas7-8. until crisp and light brown in color, approx 10-15 mins.
  13. The pieces that have been cut out can be used as lids, if so required, egg wash and bake on a seperate tray. These will not take so long and need to be watched closely as they will very quickly burn.
  14. Click on thumb nails below to see pictorial sequence

 Method 2 

  1. Roll out 450g(1lb) virgin puff pastry to approx 3mm (1/8 in) thick to form an oblong 50cm x18cm.
  2. Using  an 8cm (3in) plain round cutter, cut out 12 discs.
  3. Carefully place 6 of these discs onto a baking parchment lined baking tray. Lightly wash with cold water.
  4. Using a 4cm (11/2 in) plain round cutter, cut out the centres of the remaining 6 discs and carefully place each one onto the water washed disc which are on the tray, ensure that the top and bottom edges match.
  5. Carefully egg wash as in method 1 and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  6. Egg wash a second time and bake as in method 1.
  7. As in method 1 the centers can also be used but must be baked on a seperate tray (see method 1 (13) ).

Method 3

This method is ideal for producing, quite quickly ,a small buffet/party size  (Bouchees) that is ideal for adding a savoury filling.

  1. Roll out 450g (1lb) virgin puff pastry to approx 6mm (1/4 in) thick to form an oblong approx 25cm x 18cm. Note: twice the thickness of  methods one and two
  2. Using a round crimped cutter 4.5cm cut out discs and place evenly spaced onto a baking parchment lined baking tray.
  3. Take a 2.5 plain round cutter and cut into the centre of these discs but do not remove this disc. Idealy you do not cut right through to the tray but stop just short of going right through. It does not matter if you do cut right through but with practice you will eventually be able to accomplish this quite easily.
  4. Carefully egg wash the tops all over making sure that no egg runs down the sides. Set aside in a cool area for at least 30 mins to rest and then egg wash again.
  5. Bake in a hot oven 225C, Fan 205C, 440F, Gas 7-8. approx 10 mins until crisp and light brown in color. Remove from the oven and using a suitable "tool" and taking care not to burn yourself lightly press down on the marked centre. This should form the reqired shape, return to the oven for a further 5 mins to allow the soften centre to finish baking.
  6.  Alternatively you can leave the cases in the oven for the full 15 mins and on removal from the oven allow to ccol right down (5-10 miuns). Taking a small pointed knife you should now be able to remove half the depth of the centers  which can then be used as lids.