Michael Mina's Butterscotch Pudding (Vol Au Vent Pastry Recipe)

Michael Mina

I was browsing through Chef Michael Mina's recipes, looking for one to post alongside the interview, and I stopped on butterscotch pudding. My husband Lulu loves anything butterscotch and I thought it would be a nice treat for him. I didn’t want to serve the pudding by itself in a bowl, and after going through several options in my head (I thought of creating chocolate cups or tart shells), I decided to make a quick puff pastry dough and baked it as a "vol au vent".

I filled the puff pastry with Chef Mina’s butterscotch pudding and sprinkled a little powdered sugar over them. To make the flavors more complex, I sautéed a medley of dried fruits and pistachios in butter and added a splash of rose water. If I had time to do butterscotch three ways, a la Chef Mina, I would also have made a stack of mini crêpes layered with butterscotch cream  and a butterscotch crème brulée. You won’t go wrong with any of these dishes.

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

9 (5 x 5-inch) squares quick and easy puff pastry dough (click on the link for the recipe), rolled out about ¼" thick and chilled
1-½ cups butterscotch pudding (click on the link for Chef Michael Mina's recipe)
3 tablespoons dried fruits (see tips)
1 tablespoon pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon rose extract (or rose water)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, as needed for garnish


Directions

Making "vols au vent":

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.

I used heart-shaped cookie cutters. Cut the puff pastry dough into 18 large hearts. Using a smaller-sized cookie cutter, cut out holes in the center from the available large hearts. Reserve the mini-hearts as well (they'll be used a topping for the pastries)

Lay the large and small hearts out on a silicone mat lined baking sheet. Prick the dough using a fork 3-4 times to let some of the steam out as they bake.

Brush a thin layer of butter using a silicone brush. Superimpose a large heart with a hole on top of the ones on the baking sheet. Brush another layer of butter and top with the last layer of puff pastry dough (mini-hearts). Finish with a thin layer of melted butter. Plastic wrap the tray and place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Bake for 5 minutes at 375°F; lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The texture of the puff pastry should be very flaky.

Allow to cool completely.


For the dried fruits:

In a small pan, melt a tablespoon of butter. Add the dried fruits. Stir well for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and drizzle with rose water. Set aside.


Assembly time:

When you're ready to serve, pipe or spoon the butterscotch pudding into the pastry. Top with fruits and nuts. Cover the vols au vent with a small puff pastry heart.

Decorate by dusting the top with powdered sugar using a fine mesh strainer.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I used a mix of dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries and golden raisins.

I used 2 different sizes of cookie cutters to create the hearts: 3" scalloped-edge and 1-½" cookie cutters. You could use any other shape or size you have on hand or simply use the rim of a glass.

I usually use store-bought puff pastry dough from the Iranian store. I know what you're going to ask: Why the Iranian store? Often, I have found that the puff pastry dough sold at local chain stores is made with hydrogenated oils instead of butter. At the Iranian store, it's always made with butter. I think it's actually better to make your own. Today, I didn't have any puff pastry dough left in the freezer and no time to run to the grocery store, so I made it the quick and easy way. I hope I didn't offend any pastry experts! This took me 1 hour, tops, while multi-tasking and preparing butterscotch pudding.

Chef Michael Mina's recipe calls for 40 eggs! I reduced the ingredients to 5 egg yolks and I still had left-over pudding at the end.

You can find rose extract at Indian / Middle Eastern markets. It's sold in small 0.7-ounce bottles. If you live in the Bay Area, check out the Rose Market -1060 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94040.

Rose Water Picture

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 20, 2010.


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