September Daring Baker´s challenge – Vols-au-Vent (with caramelised onion filling)

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!”

Home-made Vols-au-Vent (with caramelised onion filling)

Isn´t it annoying that after the dust storm has passed, everyone seems to be in good health and I am the only one who suffers from a massive hay fever? My nose has been acting up since Thursday. A lot of sneezing and a really stupid runny nose. I am not in the happiest taste. No!

I only managed to finish the Daring Baker´s challenge a few hours ago. Tell you the truth, I nearly gave up on this month challenge because of limited time and the hay fever. But I am glad I didn´t give up. Home-made puff pastry is excellent. It´s so crispy and full of flavours; the store-bought one becomes so dull! (Why did I wait for so long before attempting to make puff pastry? Why?)

This is my first time making puff pastry from scratch and it is not scary as I thought. I got a lot of practice when making this chocolate layered bread. There is a lot of information on the web about making puff pastry as well. I did read through several baking books.

Anyway, the theme of this month is Vols-au-vent. I love it! The only compulsory component is the pastry shell. We can go wild with the filling. After eating a lot of sweets last week, I opt for a savoury filling which I learn from The Bathers´ Pavilion cookbook. The slow-cooked caramelized onion is matched with smoked cheddar cheese. Even though the ingredients are simple, the flavours nicely come together. I love the sweetness of slow-cooked onions. It truly brings out the buttery goodness of home-made puff pastry.

The tale of two (pastry) fish

Traditionally, Vols-au-Vent has a round shape. I get a bit imaginative and make a few fish-shaped instead. I cannot recall where I get the idea from. Food mags? Blogs? Never mind. The shape is really cute and such a show catcher.

The recipe for caramelized onion filling is included here. When Steph posted the puff pastry one, I will edit the link to her blog.

I still have half of the pastry in the fridge for which I need some inspiration from fellow daring bakers! 😉

Home-made Vols-au-Vent (with caramelised onion filling)

Onion Vols-au-vent with smoky cheddar cheese

If you follow the recipe, you will get around 15 x 5cm-diameter vols-au-vent. My fish shaped pastry is done by hand, which is of medium size. I got about 5.

Pastry: 4 sheets of good quality puff pastry (mine is home-made) + 1 beaten egg for egg wash

2 tbp olive oil
3 brown onion, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tbp castor sugar
100g smoked cheddar cheese, to serve

{} Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare the Vols-au-vent (I will link to Steph’s instruction later)

{} For the filling, simply combine everything together. Cook the onion over very low heat until caramelised. About 1 hour.

{} Spoon the fillinf in the pre-pared Vols-au-vent. Top with small piece of cheese. Warm up in the oven for a few mins before serving.

62 Responses to September Daring Baker´s challenge – Vols-au-Vent (with caramelised onion filling)

  1. linda says:

    LOL what an awesome shape, can't believe you only made it a couple of hours ago, great effort. I struggled with the round shaped vols au vent, so I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

  2. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    What a cute shape and delicious filling! Very well done!

  3. Conor @ HoldtheBeef says:

    Love your fishies! 😀

  4. Angry Asian says:

    absolutely lovely, i think i would devour these if they were handed out on an appetizer plate. i'd be the girl in the corner with the platter in her lap and pastry flakes around her mouth.

  5. Karen @ Citrus and Candy says:

    Fish-shaped and caramelised onions? Drool! Haha don't worry you're not the only one who left it till last minute! I officially finished around midnight so right on the dot! Then I had to edit photos, write etc…

  6. Ravenous Couple says:

    caramelized onions are the best!! The puff pastry looks great too..can you make pa te so with that?

  7. Memória says:

    I, too, love the shape! It has a spiritual vibe to it. They look lovely as well as your photos.

  8. Inbal says:

    The fish shape is soooo sweet, what a great idea!

  9. steph- whisk/spoon says:

    am itching to put up my post, but it's still the 26th here! love, love the fishies–too cute! and caramelized onions are sooo delicious!

  10. shaz says:

    Great job Anh! Love the fishies. Hope you feel better soon.

  11. eatme_delicious says:

    Oh wooooooooow! I can think of few better combinations than puff pastry, caramelized onions, and smoked cheese. And I LOVE the fish shape!! These look absolutely amazing. Well done. And you're inspiring me to make my own puff pastry!

  12. Ellie says:

    Very nicely done!! Love the fish shape.

  13. bittersweetblog says:

    Ohh, these are so cute! Love the fish shape, and that filling sounds incredible- I just adore caramelized onions.

  14. Stephcookie says:

    That is awesome! The fish shape is too cute, and caramelised onions is the best filling!

  15. NQN says:

    Hehe how cute is the fish shape! 😛 Great job with the challenge. I thought I had died and gone to heaven too :)

  16. Johanna says:

    love the little fishies swimming in the blue bowl – your vol au vent filling sounds just like what I would like in mine if I ever wanted to try my hand at puff pastry again (I did once in home ec and thought enough!)

  17. Faith says:

    I hope you feel better soon! Your Vols-au-Vent look perfect, and I love the caramelized onion filling. The fishies are so cute! :)

  18. Anita says:

    I love the shape – it's very creative! I think caramelised onions would have worked so well with the pastry.

  19. Sara says:

    So cool…I love the shape! :) Looks delish.

  20. Jo says:

    Love the fish shapes .. really creative and cute! And carmelized onions with puff works so well. Great job!

  21. Monika says:

    those look great! i just love the shape of your vols-au-vent!

  22. Dharm says:

    I just LOVE the fish shaped vols-au-vents. You did a splendid job on these. I enjoyed the challenge but I think I'll just stick to Pampas Puff Pastry – so, so much easier! LOL

  23. atdownunder says:

    Cute vol-au-vent !

  24. TheGourmetGirl says:

    A terrific way to introduce children to vols-au-vents that aren't just about desserts. Your whimisical presentation is great! I'm thinking about making a meating fish 'filling' and serving in place of the typical New England Fish Chowder and oyster crackers.

  25. Wic says:

    It has all been sad before so I will not bore you with my rambling about how adorable your little fish are or how delicious they look. There will be no jealous winning about your great work with this challenge or sounds of my head hitting the table out of frustration.

  26. Jenni says:

    Love it! Your little fish are adorable! And your puff pastry looks great!

  27. The Little Teochew says:

    I'm so glad you didn't give up! These are just perfect. Thanks for dropping by my blog. You have a beautiful blog. I am anxious to come back for more!

  28. thecookieshopinenglish says:

    So pretty shaped – I can only imagine the hit they'd be at a dinner party! And the filling sounds delectable.

  29. Cakebrain says:

    I heard about that dust storm in the news! yowsa!

  30. Lauren says:

    Adorable!! I love love love the fish, so cute =D.

  31. Junglefrog says:

    Well done on the cute fish forms, although I did expect to see fish inside too! But lovely filling with the onions and the cheese!

  32. cookingpractice says:

    they do look so nice and delicious! i dont dare to make puff pastry! hehe!

  33. Lori says:

    Love the fish. Why didnt I think of that, I am such a fish person- I did pigs.

  34. Amy I. says:

    How creative! Love the shape, the filling, and your photos. Definitely some of the most original vols-au-vent I've seen today as I look through everyones' posts. Great work!

  35. Anna says:

    Aw, the fishies are precious! I love that the tail gives you a bit of a handle to hold on to when you eat it…if you're, uh, not using a fork for some reason…

  36. Elle says:

    Super cute fish shape and yummy sounding filling! Hope your health improves, too. No fun having the sniffles. There are so many inspirations on how to use the rest if you check out the blogroll. Beautiful puff pastry!

  37. maybelle's mom says:

    ah i did a fish too, but different. they look great. and i sympathize about the allergies. my falll ones are starting.

  38. Y says:

    Those fish vols-au-vent are so cute :) Hope you're feeling better soon, Anh!

  39. Isabelle says:

    Absolutely lovely, I love your fish shape! You are very creative.

  40. Cakelaw says:

    Gorgeous – I love the fish shape. Hope your hayfever has passed.

  41. Deeba @Passionate About Baking says:

    Oh these are awesome Ahn. Saw them at the forum & was gobsmacked! I barely managed circles sans puffs…and take a look at you! BRAVA!!

  42. Manggy says:

    Sorry to hear you're not feeling too good :( I hope it gets better!
    This is a great way to go regardless, ha ha ha!

  43. MeetaK says:

    get well soon anh! i just love the fish shapes – you are creative! well done!

  44. Natashya KitchenPuppies says:

    I love the fishies! Great idea to do a savoury version – they are so pretty!

  45. creampuff says:

    Well done, Anh! I just love the little fishy shapes!

  46. Lisa Michelle says:

    Anh, that little fishy shape is amazing – so lovely and creative! I cannot believe this was your first time making PP! One would never know. Also, caramelized onion and smoked cheddar filling? HELLO little fishy! Amazing job!

  47. Maria@TheGourmetChallenge says:

    wow, I've seen heaps of vols-au-vents around the traps, but your's is officially the first fish! great job!

  48. zorra says:

    Chapeau you did the challenge under this conditions. Your vols-au-vent look awesome and the filling.. yumm.

  49. Aparna says:

    Think your vol-au-vents look so cute. And the filling sounds delish.

  50. nicole says:

    Heehee! I love the little fish shape! I hope you're feeling better.

  51. veron says:

    This looks adorable! Great job on the challenge, looks delicious and heavenly!

  52. 6p00d83451fa5069e2 says:

    So, so, so cute! I love the little fish. I'm going to borrow your idea!

  53. ChichaJo says:

    I love what you've done with the shape of your vols au vents! The fish shape is so charming :)

  54. Peabody says:

    Love the fish shape and that you filled them with something savory!

  55. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    I really love the cute shapes you did! And that filling sounds just heavenly!

  56. Rilsta says:

    Your fishes are so cute! I love the stencil you made.

  57. Megan@Feasting on Art says:

    Ohhhh I love love love your little fish shaped pastry!

  58. Gloria says:

    WOW!! dear Anh, I cannot come before but I really love your shape mold! is lovely, I lovely it!! look amazing!! I love vols au vents,, I want to make soon!

  59. The Cooking Ninja says:

    I love your little fish shape puff. They are so so cute. :)

  60. Shari@Whisk: a food blog says:

    It may be your first time making it, but I know it isn't your last. You had super success with this. Looks amazing.

  61. kellypea says:

    Your "fish" turned out so beautifully! I love the onion-cheese combo you filled them with as well. Gorgeous photos!

  62. La Table De Nana says:

    The cutest ever

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