Daring Bakers Challenge : Vols-au-Vent


(Encapsulated tarte tatin with Calvados custard and vanilla bubbles)

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.

Until now, I’ve never bothered to make puff pastry at home. I am a commitment-phobe when it comes to long processes. If I’m baking at home, I usually like the simple things – a handful of cookies, and the odd cake; maybe with some icing, or maybe not.


Not to make it sound too daunting of course. Baking puff can be quite a rewarding experience. Watching it bake is as mesmerising as the hypnotic tumbling of a front-end loading washing machine (or am I just too easily amused?). It is a performance piece which you put into the oven, draw back the kitchen towel curtains and watch rise to applause.

Even though it took me almost a month to finally start this challenge, the process itself only took a few hours. During that time, I mulled over what I would fill my end product with. When I saw this, the indecision was immediately over. An encapsulated tarte tatin? Yes please!

For the puff pastry recipe, please visit Steph’s blog. For the encapsulated tarte tatin, fill the vols-au-vent with caramelised apples and calvados custard. Top each one with a caramel disc, warming it gently to ensure it melds to the pastry. Serve with a vanilla sauce poured at the table.


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  1. Laurel said,

    September 30, 2009 @ 6:14 am

    Just wondering when you were going to take the blogger of fame plunge and PUBLISH YOUR OWN COOKBOOK! You are the most inventive blogger out there, I want to try each and every one of your creations or drool over pictures if I can’t. Considering I’d have to go through conversion after conversion because of the silly American measuring system that’s saying something; well, that and the fact that I’d have to substitute gluten and dairy both. Yet, still I need your book to dream over. You’ve gotta admit, it’s a thought.

    Thanks for all the smiles.

  2. veron said,

    September 30, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    Oh my God, this is amazing Y! I love apple desserts and this is simply genius.

  3. Juliana said,

    September 30, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

    Wow, this is indeed very creative…looks really yummie!

  4. Jill said,

    September 30, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

    I’m so going to have to try this–caramel is always a favorite. Beautiful pictures! 🙂

  5. Nicole said,

    September 30, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

    Haha! I have a funny image of someone standing in front of a washing machine in the middle of a laundromat, transfixed by the tumbling clothes as onlookers wonder what the heck she is doing…

    Your photos are gorgeous!

  6. Kari @ Eating Simply said,

    October 1, 2009 @ 4:56 am

    This looks absolutely delicious. I have always wanted to make puff pastry at home but have just never done it. I will have to try it. Your photos are lovely, too.

  7. Lucy said,

    October 1, 2009 @ 6:13 am

    I’m generally also a fan of the simple yet delicious bakes, and would have been hugely daunted by this task. But your result is beautiful – looks fabulous and utterly delicious 🙂 What a clever idea!

  8. Lisa said,

    October 1, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

    OMG, what a brilliant idea!!! I’m (as a;ways when I visit your blog) in awe of your creativity. Your vols au vent looks amazing, perfect flaky layers, but that apple tarte tatin ‘encapsulated’ with calvados custard and surrounded by vanilla sauce is heavenly and one of the, if not THE best vols au vent filling and accoutrement in this challenge!

  9. tara said,

    October 2, 2009 @ 5:12 am

    I mean really Y, that vols-au-vent all tucked in its vanilla cloud is just fabulous.

  10. lisaiscooking said,

    October 2, 2009 @ 6:43 am

    I love the caramel disk on top! Sounds positively delicious.

  11. Jen Yu said,

    October 3, 2009 @ 2:45 am

    Are you kidding me?! That is beautiful, brilliant, and so original! I love it 🙂 You are one smart little cookie! xxoo

  12. Taylor said,

    October 3, 2009 @ 6:01 am

    I wish I had the guts to make my own puff pastry! This looks so warm and tasty that I might just have to attempt it!

    The bubbles are such a lovely touch!

  13. clumbsycookie said,

    October 3, 2009 @ 7:14 am

    What a brilliant idea! Brilliant I tell you!!!

  14. Y said,

    October 3, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

    Laurel : Ha, maybe I should self-publish, but I doubt even my own mother would buy one of my books! 😀

  15. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    October 4, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

    How did I miss this? I was sure I left a comment on this…perhpas it disappeared into the ether? haha I love the bubbles. Are these the new foam? A friend had one of your bubble desserts at your restaurant and she loved the sensation!

  16. Christy said,

    October 4, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

    encapsulated tarte tatin!! oh yeah!! and vanilla bubbles!! those bubbles give me the impression that the tarte tatin has emerged from the mysterious white depths of molten clouds(makes sense??). Looks very scientific to me!! Love your interpretation, as always!!

  17. Tartelette said,

    October 8, 2009 @ 11:29 am

    Outstanding! I absolutely love this Y! A lot of my favorites all in one bite.

  18. Foodieguy said,

    October 15, 2009 @ 11:14 am

    O very nice photos… I’ve got a craving for puff pastry right about now.

  19. Ana Powell said,

    October 19, 2009 @ 6:23 pm

    Absolutely beautiful and delicious.
    Great photos x

  20. Ana Powell said,

    October 19, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

    Absolutely beautiful and delicious.
    Lovely photos x

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