Flying in the Wind
Vol-au-vent, a French style puff pastry case, translated to english means ‘flying with/in the wind’. It’s meant to describe the light airy texture of the pastry once it’s been baked; the air that gets trapped between layers and layers of buttery pastry. The French have a way of fluffing up even the simplest of things. I like that about them. If it were up to anyone else it might have been called Pastry #8 or something else rather mundane.
Puff pastry on its own isn’t very flavorful, and the purpose of vol-au-vent is really to house something delectable. Like, perhaps, a creamy mascarpone mushroom filling with spicy sausage slices drizzled in green onion & pea shoot oil.
For some reason vol-au-vent makes me think of Twitter. I know it’s a bit of a stretch but bear with me.
Twitter is like a vast, fast flowing river, or, for the sake of this post, an intense wind of information. You step on-line and a gust of tweets pluck you up and whisk you away to enlightenment. I have myself, been caught in this wind of illumination, only blowing back to earth when I’m hungry and dehydrated or when the light turns green (I’m joking, don’t tweet and drive). There are layers and layers of information and there is also a lot of ‘air’. Then there is the stuff I’m really interested in, the delectable filling if you will.
It’s kind of like your own informational vol-au-vent, which is truly awesome.
I’m still trying to determine what kind of tweeter…twitterer…tweetster (?) I want to be. For now I’m enjoying that I can connect with people in the Canadian food community like Julie and Renee. Thanks for the recent support ladies!
Mushroom Vol-au-vent with Green Onion & Sweet Pea Shoot Oil
For the Green Onion and Sweet Pea Shoot Oil:
3 green onions
1 1/2 cup sweet pea shoots
3/4 cup olive oil
Chop green onions and pea shoots coarsely. Toss in a blender and add oil; puree until smooth. Pour through a very fine strainer (or coffee filter) and let drain at room temp for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Do not push solids through.
For the Vol-au-vent and Creamy Mushroom Filling:
6-8 white button mushrooms, sliced
6-8 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 Tbls butter
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbls thyme
1 large shallot
pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup mascarpone
salt & pepper to taste
2 spicy sausages
1 package puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Typically the box instructions don’t have you set the temp this high and find the pastry doesn’t puff up as much as I want it to. You may have to play around with your oven temperature to determine what works best for you.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat an egg and set aside with a pastry brush.
Roll out all the puff pastry to anywhere from 1/8 or 14” thick. You’ll need 2 cookie cutters ( I used a 2” and a 1” round). Cut out as many 2” rounds as you can. Divide the rounds in two placing half of them on the baking sheet. With the other half, take your 1” cutter and cut a smaller round from the 2” rounds. You’ll be left with a 2” ring of pastry and a 1” round. It’s the ring you want.
Lightly egg wash each 2” round on the tray and place a corresponding 2” ring over top so the edges line up. Then very lightly, egg wash the top ring. As one of my chefs would say, ‘You’re not making quiche’. Also, you don’t want to have any egg bind up the puff pastry and hinder its rising. Bake 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven heat. You want the vol-au-vent to be a golden brown and feel light as air when you pick them up. Also, if they start to curl over like a slinky, just press them back down a bit as they are baking to help them rise straight up.
In a small pan fry up two sausages until cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool. Slice up into thin round pieces and place a few into the cup of each vol-au-vent.
In a medium pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and toss in sliced mushrooms, saute 5-7 minutes. Once the mushrooms have released their moisture add finely diced shallot, garlic, thyme and salt. Saute another few minutes until the onions become translucent and the mushrooms have begun to get a bit of colour. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of pan to release all the good bits.
Finally, add mascarpone, milk, salt and pepper and combine well. Remove from heat and spoon a generous portion onto of the sausage and vol-au-vent. Drizzle with a bit of onion and pea shoot oil, garnish with pea shoots.
Perfect for appetizers or for dinner with a side salad.
Photos and recipes by Maggie Murphy