Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Make Puff Pastry Shells – Vol au Venting!

As promised, here’s the video for how to make your own puff pastry shells, or vol au vents, as they'd be called in France, and select U.S. locations. These are fairly simple to make, and once baked the real fun begins, as they can hold so many amazing fillings, both sweet and savory.

The key is making sure your puff pastry dough is very firm, and very cold, preferably still partially frozen, before you start cutting it. You want nice clean cuts, because if you mash the layers of pastry together, your shells will not rise as high, and they can also bake into some strange shapes. Having said that, even though I was filming, and working way too slowly, these still came out pretty well.

Once they’re filled they look great, so it’s not that big of a deal, but in general, the colder the dough, the nicer the final product. Other than being too rough with the dough, the other common mistake is under cooking. Your shells might look beautiful at 15 minutes, but may still be kind of raw inside. As long as the outside is not getting too dark, don’t be afraid to let them bake a bit longer.

Regarding the scraps. You can’t re-roll the trimmed puff pastry and have the shells come out the same, but what you can do is cut it into irregular shapes, egg wash it, and dust with cinnamon and sugar. Once baked to a crispy, golden-brown, you’ll have a great little sweet treat to serve with coffee or tea. I hope you give this easy and fun technique a try very soon. Enjoy!


mummytime101 said...

absolutely love the look of these and making them tonight for dinner. filling them with a creamy chicken and mushroom filling :) thanks for the recipe

Vincent said...

My grandma used to make these with beef ragout for special occasions, like new year's eve or birthdays.

Nicole said...

ohhhh I was excited for this video, thinking you'd teach us foodwishers how to make the actual puff pastry dough! I can't seem to find it in the supermarkets here in Spain.
Is it really difficult to make from scratch?

Grams Pam said...

Technique really is everything. A friend and I were taking the same desert to an event (lots of people there, we shared the workload).

She used the frozen, pre-made puff pastry shells and I used the frozen sheets with your technique.

Same exact desert, same manufacturer of the frozen items but everyone wanted the ones made with your technique.

When asked why ... "Looks better" and "Tastes better" were the most often given reasons.

Thanks, Chef John!

Unknown said...

I bet these would be awesome filled with that concoction you made for the chicken cordon bleu open faced sandwich foodwish video. I'm definitely going to have to try that sometime.

neil plaza said...

Hello Chef John. I can't seem to find the recipe please post it again please please. Thank you so much.

neil plaza said...

Recipe please Chef John

CookingWithoutANet said...

Always love Chef John's videos! But I am having Crazy results with my puff pastry. First batch (made like the video) the pastry just went wild and became like oversized caterpillars. Second batch, tried to cut pasty when colder..I only used one layer -- came out of oven not quite as crazy but still a bit overshaped...not so circular and as symmetrical like Chef John's. Is it the pastry or me...possibly handleling the pastry too much?? Any thoughts -- must appreciated.