I'm going to do my best to make this short and sweet so I can still make the Daring Baker deadline. I put this month's recipe off out of fear which was silly because it turns out it was pretty easy (a bit time consuming, but easy). 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.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Once I had six turns on the dough, I chilled it overnight. The next morning I trimmed the edges off and cut the dough into eight 4" squares.
Then gently fold each square into a triangle and cut the edges without cutting to the corner in the center.
Then unfold and pivot so the uncut corners are at the top and bottom.
Then flip the rim on the left over to the right.
Then the right over to the left.
This makes a little nest for the pastry cream and poached plum (recipe at end of post). Then chill them for 15 minutes on the tray before baking.
Give them an egg wash before baking for 30 minutes.
About half way through the baking time, I thought I had done something wrong because butter started melting out of all the pastries and they weren't puffing. Then suddenly they puffed up with a perfect crispy base. I'm anxious to try other variations with this recipe...croissants, pain au chocolat, savory cheese straws, and more.
Whisk together in a separate bowl, 3 egg yolks, 1.5 ounces sugar, 1 ounce sifted flour and set aside.
In a small saucepan pour 2 cups milk and 1.5 ounces sugar. Add seeds from one vanilla bean. Place over full heat. When it starts to bubble, stir 1/3 of milk into the egg mixture. Slowly whisk in the rest of the milk and then strain back into the pan using a mesh sieve. Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. Pour into a dish to cool.
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 plums peeled, halved, and pitted
In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring mixture to boil and add plums. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the plums cool in the syrup. When cool, pat dry. They can be used at this point, or you may store them in an air tight container for up to two days.