Just like PILLOWS and INFLATED MATTRESSES ! What interesting puff-pastry architectures indeed ! Originally, the “vol-au-vent” culinary term signified “windblown”, to describe the hollow, light and airy puff-pastry cases or patty cases, prepared and pre-baked, to be later filled with sweet and/or savory fillings, most often combined with a thickened cream or sauce.
Most people today just buy them, usually round or cylindrical in shape, either medium-sized at about 9-10 cm in diameter for starters or smaller bite-sized sizes about 4-5 cm each as appetizers, but they were originally prepared in much larger dimensions, measuring between 15-20 cm in diameter and shared by slicing.
Store-bought versions are fuss-free and are relatively inexpensive, but they are smaller, lighter and drier, almost like crispy and airy biscuits but somewhat too crumbly and rather neutral in taste and each can accommodate approximately ½ cup of filling maximum.
These versions which I am showing you, are larger because they’re square, measuring 10 cm x 10 cm and also higher at 5 cm high and thus hold around 33% more filling,
And because they are fresher and less dry and less crumbly, they are inevitably tastier.
It’s like making a pie. If the crust is tasty, then the whole pie is tastier too. Am I right ?
Give it a try and make a few puff-pastry cases for your end of the year preparations and lighten up these coming holidays with something home-made, hand-made and wholesome … :)