Tag Archives: puff pastry

Vols-au-vent: Spiced Poached Pears with Hazelnut Sabayon

Vol-au-vent with Hazelnut Sabayon and  Spiced Poached Pears
It was only a matter of time that I’d have to revisit the task of making pate feuilletee again.  My first run-in with the multi-layered French pastry dough was also my first Daring Baker challenge over two years ago.  The result was truly something that might qualify as an organic building material considering the sheer weight of it and lack of any discernible layers.  It was awful.  But when I saw this month’s  challenge, I knew I’d be ready to tackle it again.  After all, it’s been over two years, so my trauma has subsided and I’ve been more preoccupied by what kind of dessert I’d create with the puff pastry we were asked to make.

It’s officially Fall, so pears are plentiful here.  Nuts always make me think of Fall as well, but what kind, and what to fill the pastry with?  Leafing through  The French Laundry Cookbook, I found the perfect recipe and decided that it would be the perfect way to welcome in my favorite season.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ Challenge has been chosen by Steph of a whisk and a spoon. Steph chose Vols-au-Vent, which we are pretty sure in French means, “After one bite we could die and go to heaven!”

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Tomato Herb Tarts

Tomato Herb Tart

About this time last year, I was editing the nearly 800 photographs I took while on vacation in Italy and as much as I can say that I enjoyed reviewing our trip in front of my Mac, one photo in particular stood out.  It was taken the first day we were in Rome from the kitchen window of the apartment we rented.  We’d visited the farmer’s market in the Campo di Fiori directly after arriving because I swore I was going to cook on vacation.  The market was near closing time so the vendors were busy packing up their product when we arrived rushing to gather the ingredients for our dinner. Of all the items still displayed, the tomatoes caught my eye.  Red, plump, shiny tomatoes.  I recognized their shape as something I’d only seen on the label of cans in select stores until that time.  More elongated than a Roma,  definitely thinner in the center, and a deep, deep red.  I knew they were San Marzanos, so of course I had to buy some for our pasta that evening.

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