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A vol-au-vent is made with puff-paste and filled with oysters, meat, etc., when baked; that is, when the cake is baked and emptied, it is warmed in the oven, filled, and served warm. It is made of an oval or round shape. When made small it is generally of a round shape, but when made rather large it is generally of an oval shape. When the puff-paste is ready to be used, roll down to any thickness from one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch; cut it with a sharp-pointed knife of the size and shape you wish, then with the same knife cut what is called the cover, i. e., make a cut all around, about half an inch from the edge or border, and about one-third through the paste, leaving two-thirds of the thickness of the paste uncut. This operation is called marking out the cover. Glaze the top of the paste with egg, and bake it in a very quick oven, about 500 deg. Fahr. In glazing, be careful not to glaze the sides or allow any egg to run on the sides; it would prevent the paste from rising. Some drawings may be made on the cover with the back of a knife, according to fancy: leaves, for instance, are very easily imitated; it is only necessary to run the knife on the paste, without cutting it. When in the oven, do not look at it for at least seven or eight minutes, for in opening the door of the oven it might cause the paste to fall and even after that time open and shut the door quickly; take off when properly baked. When the oven is hot enough it takes about twelve minutes, and even less time when the vol-au-vent is small. Take from the oven when baked, and immediately run the point of the knife all around and in the same place as you did before being baked, which place is well marked. Thus you cut off the cover and remove it, then remove also all the unbaked paste that is inside of the vol-au-vent, so that you have left what may be called a shell. Keep it then till the oysters or meat are ready to put in it. About five minutes before the filling is ready, put the shell or baked paste in a slow oven to warm it, turn the filling into it, enough to fill it entirely; place the cover on the top, and serve warm. The unbaked paste removed from the inside is baked, and makes an excellent cake, though not a sightly one.


Hand-Book of Practical Cookery (1884).


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