I'm a little embarrassed to post about food today. I spent some time last week reading a wonderful blog about a woman's journey to cook through a gourmet cookbook. I'm not going to tell you which one. Nope. She describes the process for each dish - many of which she spent DAYS preparing. Her ingredients were always the best she could find - and if she couldn't find them locally, she would have them shipped to her. Now that's dedication. That's also not the way I roll. I personally like to be able to find stuff easily and locally. Oh, and I don't like to spend a ton of money and/or time making stuff my family won't touch with a ten-foot pole. That's right, if they're not going to touch it, I much prefer that I didn't break the budget making it. Enough about me.
In many Neels books you'll find the Dr. van der Hunkydutch and the plucky heroine at a party or a dance wherein they are served vol-au-vents. I looked up the definition on several different sites and found the descriptions to be pretty similar:
A light pastry shell filled with, well, pretty much anything. Most mentioned a savoury meat filling - some going so far as to say "a ragout of meat or fish". What's ragout? Simple answer: A thick meat stew. Okay, that's pretty non-specific - which means I can put anything I want in it, right? I chose to put a chicken pot pie filling in mine. (Rebekah, The Zombie Bride, had made a variation on my chicken pot pie earlier in the week so that was fresh on my mind).
Filling (this makes way more than you'll probably need for vol-au-vents):
8 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables (mine had carrots, corn, peas and green beans, I think - you could just use peas and carrots)
2 potatoes, peeled, chopped into small cubes then boiled until just barely cooked(about 10 minutes)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cooked chicken
Mix together in a pot on the stove and heat until warm. You could add some sour cream to this and some fresh herbs to tart it up some.
I used Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry sheets. There's two sheets in the box, each folded in thirds. I didn't unfold or roll them out because I wanted them tallish. I cut them into circles using about a two-inch cylinder I found in my measuring cup drawer. I then used a sharp knife to cut a smaller circle in the middle of the two-inch one - being careful not to cut clear through the bottom. I baked them for around 15 minutes at 400' and then took the center circles out and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Fill and serve.
Verdict: I would like to have a go at making my own puff pastry next time. I am not fond of frozen pastry in general (such as frozen pie crusts...they have a slightly funky taste to me). My filling worked fine - but I here's where you can let your imagination run wild. You can put whatever you want in them - just make sure that your filling is not too chunky to go in the small openings.