Monday, September 28, 2009

September (and yes it is still Sept!) Daring Bakers’ Challenge

First, for the required language:
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.

Second, and now, for my confession… Hi, I am a slacking Daring Baker and I was late completing this month’s challenge. I don’t know what it is about this month’s challenge but I just was not that excited about completing it. I waited and waited and then figured I would crank it out before the 30th of the month. Then, today, the 28th of the month, I remembered the challenges are due to be posted on the 27th. I have not missed a challenge, and I have not been late with a posting (until now). So, I hauled tail home from work to knock out this challenge.

So, I present Vegan Vols-au-Vent with Fried Apple Filing
You can find the challenge recipe here for the puffed pastry. The fried apples were really simple: Peel and cube your favorite apple. Melt margarine in a frying pan. Pour in the apples. Stir in raw sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and rum extract. Cook until they reach your desired consistency (be careful not to over caramelize them… a.k.a burn them).

Thoughts and reflectionsI halved the puff pastry recipe and used earth balance margarine instead of butter. Note- margarine is softer than butter and I think a little harder to work with.
(Vols-au-vent before baking. Just in case they totally flopped in the oven

I wanted proof that I tried!)

In baking my vols-au-vent, they did not puff up like puff pastry should. I think I rolled my initial margarine layer to thin and subsequently the dough to thin as well. (Funny enough, as I am typing this my vols-au-vent are in the oven. I decided to taste one of the flower centers and Oh, My! Heaven! Clouds of flakiness!) So, next time I will not roll them as thin to get a high rise, but the texture is golden.

Lastly, my cooking time was longer than the recommended time. I turn the oven from 400 degrees F to 350 after about 25 minutes. Also, they leaked a little bit of margarine at the very beginning of baking, but magically (and thankfully) reabsorbed the margarine and turned out phenomenally.

Closing thoughts: They were absolutely delightful once filled. The pastry had a salty taste and it paired nicely with the sweet, but not too sweet, fried apple filling. It was mommy approved (and that says A LOT)!

Great challenge and I will get October’s challenge done ON TIME!

Final closing thought (yup, it is like a P.P. S.) I did one turn on the excess dough and rolled it into cinnamon sugar palmiers. They are currently resting in the fridge. I could not over achieve and bake those tonight too. Something to look forward to… :o)