Michael Mina's Butterscotch Pudding (Vol Au Vent Pastry Recipe)
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.
Yields: 6 servings9 (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
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.
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.
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.September 20, 2010.