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.
This was a nice challenge, but I had an accidental shortcut to it.
September has been pretty hot here, not exactly the right climate to make puff pastry.
I had in the freezer some I had made in late spring. I kept it there as a last resort, waiting until the last moment to see if I had a cold day to document the entire challenge, but the cold day never came (and I can't say I'm sorry for that), so I hope that my word on being the maker of the pastry is valid enough as for the accomplishment of the challenge.
It must be, because if I had bought it, it sure would have risen much better!
Vol-au-vents are tricky to eat: the puff pastry crumbles a lot (at least, you hope it does!) and when they are big you risk The Big Splash Of Content.
That's why I went for bite-size.
Maybe too much, but in my opinion this is a case where smaller is better.
I made an appetizer and a dessert.
The appetizer involves one of my family's all time favourites: gorgonzola, which was paired with pears.
Nothing else: the pears were ripe and juicy enough to give out the right amount of liquid and only a few seconds of heat were needed to melt the zola in order to mix the two.
The dessert was a reinterpretation of a Ferrero Rocher, the puff pastry playing the part of the wafer.
A quick ganache with Nutella and whipped cream, added with ground hazelnuts.
In my intentions, a whole hazelnut was to be in the center of the vol-au-vent, but a whole hazelnut didn't fit in the bitesize structure without pulling the balance with chocolate too much.
I wish my husband took some classes of creative food writing: asking for an opinion and just getting "MMMMHHHH!" for an answer, as much as participated it is, is starting not to be enough for me.