Nothing gets me more riled up than a challenge – family and friends who know me well also know that I won’t hesitate to act on a dare, and the more they say I can’t do something, the stubborn person in me will all the more try to show them otherwise.
Friends will attest to the number of times I’ve embarrassed myself by singing or dancing in public (I’m not good at either!) after being egged on to do so. Well, anyway, it’s all in the spirit of fun!
The first time reading the September Daring Bakers’ challenge brought back the same feeling of someone goading and urging me to try making vol au vents. So, of course I was keen to prove that I could do it!
This month I settled on making two fillings a sweet and a savoury. Blueberry and Apple Compote with a Creme Patisserie and Prawns in a Cream Sauce.
Funnily enough, my brother-in-law seemed to think I had made two savoury fillings. I know this because we had lunch at my place one Sunday afternoon and we were all feasting on grilled seafood from the fish markets. That morning, I had made a batch of my first sweet filling – blueberry and apple compote and left it on the stove top to cool. When my brother in law got to the table, his plate was full of prawns, fish and his rice was topped with my blueberry and apple compote! I asked him why he had in on his rice as it was made of blueberries and apples – and he said “oh really? I thought there were little potatoes and olives!” – Haha! I wasn’t sure whether I should be insulted, but I was sure that it was the funniest thing I heard that day. No wonder I adore my brother in law so much! :)
The Septmber 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.
I’ll only post my filling recipes here but the rest of the recipe and tips can also be found on this document.
Blueberry and Apple Compote with Pastry Cream
For the Compote
- 125 grams fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 50 grams butter
- 25 grams sugar
- Melt the butter in a heavy sauce pan and once melted, add the apples and sugar.
- Cook over a medium heat until the apples are softened. This took me around 12 minutes.
- Once the apples, are softened, add the blueberries and cook for another 3 minutes
Note: This is a very small quantity because I only made half a recipe for the vol au vents
- 200 ml milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds
- 3 egg yolks
- 45 grams caster sugar
- 20 grams cornflour
- 60 ml thickened cream
- Put the milk into a saucepan along with the vanilla bean.
- Bring the milk to a boil, but watch very carefully as this happens very quickly. Once boiling, remove from the heat and set aside around 20 minutes to allow the vanilla bean to infuse its flavours.
- In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl until pale. Once done, add the cornflour.
- Re-heat the milk until it comes back to the boil and then add the egg yolk mixture.
- Over a medium heat, whisk the mixture thoroughly, ensuring that you scrape the bottom and sides of the pan so that it does not catch on the bottom.
- Once the mixture has thickened (around 5 minutes for me), remove from the heat and place the mixture in a new bowl over another bowl filled with ice and water. Stir the mixture until it cools and then beat it until smooth.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks and then fold this into the pastry cream.
To assemble: Fill eat vol-au-vent with a generous portion of pastry cream and some of the compote
Prawns in a Cream Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 carrot, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 celery rib, diced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup full cream milk
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- 12 pieces fresh prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Heat the olive oil and butter together in a heavy sauce pan.
- Add the carrots, onion and celery and cook over a medium heat until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery are soft.
- Add the flour and cook for around 3 minutes.
- If using, add the white wine and then the milk around a quarter cup at a time, make sure to keep on stirring so that the milk does not catch at the bottom of the pan.
- Finally, add the chopped prawns and cook for around 5 minutes until the prawns turn pink and are cooked.
- Finish with some chopped parsley.
It was a great challenge and thanks to Steph for hosting and selecting such a handy recipe and providing so many tips to ensure success!
One thing I will share, the toughest part of the challenge was rolling out the dough. My tip here is the get some flour and use this to measure on your bench top the dimensions of your dough. This helped me to ensure that I was always rolling out the desired measurements.