A friend who’s opinion I value tells me that I have to write an intro paragraph. For many food blogs, I regard the first few paragraphs as a foofy nonsense so I’ll try to keep this short. Vol-au-vents are traditionally savory, but I wanted an aesthetically pleasing puff pastry with a cream cheese filling. If I had a cupcake tin, I would have made pinwheel danishes. If I had a larger baking pan, I would have made danish crossovers. But alas, I do not.
Ideally, I would have baked the cream cheese into the puff pastry but within moments of putting the vol-au-vents or shells into the toaster oven, it was obvious that the rise would be uneven. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of my toaster oven vol-au-vents and one baked in a traditional oven. As you can see, my blueberry danishes veer dangerously and heartbreakingly to the side.
If I had filled them with the cream cheese mixture, they would have vomited forth their contents all over the baking sheet and made a cottage cheese mess. But if you have the good fortune of upright vol-au-vents, you can pipe or spoon in the cream cheese mixture after the initial rise (e.g. 5-7 minutes into the baking time).
Homely but Tasty Blueberry Vol-Au-Vents
YIELDS 8 sweet vol-au-vents
ADAPTED from Real Simple
INGREDIENTS: 1 sheet of puff pastry, 3/4 cup blueberries (2 handfuls), flour for work surface, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry and cut out sixteen circles. I used a glass tumbler. Then use a smaller cutter to cut additional circles in half of the large circles (so you’re making donut-like shapes). I used a champagne glass.
On a lined baking sheet, arrange the donut piece of puff pastry on top of each circle. You can glue it with a bit of egg wash, but I found it unnecessary. For a glossier finish, you can paint it with egg wash but I didn’t want to waste an egg.
Bake the vol au vents for 15 minutes at 200 C. Due to space constraints I could only bake six at a time and I also had to rotate halfway for equal browning. Let the shells cool completely and remove extraneous puff pastry to create a bigger hole.
As the shells cool, whip cream cheese until fluffy before incorporating 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, the zest, and heavy cream. Spoon or pipe filling into the shells and top off with blueberries. Garnish with powdered sugar.