Vol-au-Vent Régence

This recipe is a French classic from the earlier part of the 20th century. It features in the books of legendary chef, Auguste Escoffier, and was a regular on the menus of the lavish French restaurants of the United States at the same time. The original contained foie gras and chicken. But, I have created a version that is still rich, but vegetarian. And, it is definitely time that Vol-au-Vent made a comeback.

A plate of Vol-au-Vent with mushrooms and cream topped with parsley by Simon Majumdar

Vol-au-Vent Régence Recipe

(Serves About 4)

Ingredients

For the Vol-au-Vent Rings:

  • 4 x 12 x 10 in sheets of Frozen Puff Pastry (Thawed)

  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)

  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk

  • 1 round cookie cutter around 3 inches

  • 1 round cookie cutter around 2 inches

 

For the Filling:

  • ¼ Bottle of White Wine (Chardonnay will work)

  • 2 Shallots (Minced)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter

  • 2 Cups Assorted Wild Mushrooms

  • ½ Cup Whole Milk

  • ½ Cup Heavy Cream

  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

  • ¼ Cup Italian Parsley (Fine Chop)

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • ¼ Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg

 

Instructions

​For the Rings:

  1. Using the 3-inch cookie cutter, cut 8 rings from the puff pastry. Lay the cut out puff pastry rings on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Four of these cut out puff pastry rings will form the base of your vol-au-vents, and four of the cut out puff pastry will form the sides and lid of your vol-au-vents.

  2. For the tops of the vol-au-vents, take four of the cut out puff pastry rings. Using the 2-inch cookie cutter, cut another smaller circle in the middle of the 3-inch cut out puff pastry rings. The outer ring will form the pastry that will rise from the base, while the smaller inner ring will form the lid.

  3. Lay the outer ring on top of the base layer, and then place the lid section in the middle.

  4. Brush the vol-au-vent with a mixture of the egg and milk.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be done in advance.

 

For the Filling:

  1. Take half of the butter and place in a pan on a gentle heat and allow to melt to a foam. When the butter has melted, add the shallots. Season the shallots with a little salt and pepper.

  2. Cook the shallots for 2 minutes and then add the garlic.

  3. Cook the garlic for 2 minutes and then add the wild mushrooms.

  4. Combine well and then add the white wine.

  5. Cook gently for 5 minutes until the wine evaporates, and the mushrooms have cooked down to a darker color.

  6. Toss in most of the parsley, leaving just a little for garnish.

  7. In a separate pan, melt the rest of the butter to a foam. Once the butter is foaming and melted, add the all-purpose flour and combine well with the butter. Cook until the flour/butter mixture begins to smell almost like an apple pie crust.

  8. Slowly add the milk, whisking in as it combines with the butter/flour mix over a gentle heat. Whisk as it combines to make sure there are no lumps.

  9. Once it has combined, add the heavy cream and allow to cook on a very gentle heat.

  10. Once it has thickened, season the sauce with a little grated nutmeg.

  11. Add the cooked mushrooms to the cream sauce, and allow to rest.

 

To Serve:

  1. When ready to serve, warm up the vol-au-vents in a low heat in the oven.

  2. Remove the lids from the vol-au-vents and keep for garnish.

  3. Warm through the mushroom filling and, when both the vol-au-vents and filling are warm, spoon the filling into the vol-au-vent, allowing some to fall over onto the plate.

  4. Garnish with parsley and the lid.