Make from 3/4 to 1 pound of puff-paste, taking care that it is very evenly rolled out each time, to insure its rising properly; and if the paste is not extremely light, and put into a good hot oven, this cannot be accomplished, and the vol-au-vent will look very badly. Roll out the paste to the thickness of about 1 1/2 inch, and, with a fluted cutter, stamp it out to the desired shape, either round or oval, and, with the point of a small knife, make a slight incision in the paste all round the top, about an inch from the edge, which, when baked, forms the lid. Put the vol-au-vent into a good brisk oven, and keep the door shut for a few minutes after it is put in. Particular attention should be paid to the heating of the oven, for the paste cannot rise without a tolerable degree of heat When of a nice colour, without being scorched, withdraw it from the oven, instantly remove the cover where it was marked, and detach all the soft crumb from the centre: in doing this, be careful not to break the edges of the vol-au-vent; but should they look thin in places, stop them with small flakes of the inside paste, stuck on with the white of an egg. This precaution is necessary to prevent the fricassee or ragoût from bursting the case, and so spoiling the appearance of the dish. Fill the vol-au-vent with a rich mince, or fricassee, or ragoût, or the remains of cold fish flaked and warmed in a good white sauce, and do not make them very liquid, for fear of the gravy bursting the crust: replace the lid, and serve. To improve the appearance of the crust, brush it over with the yolk of an egg after it has risen properly.
Time: 3/4 hour to bake the vol-au-vent.
Seasonable at any time.
Note: Small vol-au-vents may be made and filled with minced veal, chicken, etc. They should be made of the same paste as the larger ones, and stamped out with a small fluted cutter.