Before starting this Bouchées à la Reine recipe, organise the necessary ingredients for the pastry cases. Roll out the puff pastry. Although puff pastry is quite technical, I invite you to follow my easy, step-by-step recipe for a home-made flaky pastry. You won't be disappointed! For best results, I recommend using extra dry butter.
Roll the puff pastry to a thickness of 4 or 5mm. Using an Exoglass round pastry cutter Ø 10cm (I used a fluted cutter for this recipe), cut the pastry into discs...
... and slightly twist the cutter on your floured worktop to make sure the disc is cut in a perfectly neat shape. The pastry disc will detach easily from the puff pastry slab.
Cut as many discs as you need. 500 grams of puff pastry yields 12 discs of Ø 10cm, for a total of 6 bouchées.
Arrange 6 pastry discs on a Silpat baking mat, placed on top of a Silichef XL perforated baking sheet.
Using a pastry brush, glaze the discs with eggwash (a beaten egg yolk with a little water).
With the 6 other pastry discs on your floured worktop, cut a hole in the centre with a smaller pastry cutter. I used an Exoglass round fluted cutter with a diameter of 6cm.
Repeat the operation for all discs. You should now have 6 pastry rings.
Carefully arrange the rings on top of the pastry discs. The rings will adhere to the glazed pastry discs easily.
Glaze the pastry rings...
... and store in the fridge for about 2 hours before baking. Ideally, start the recipe the day before and refrigerate overnight to prevent the pastry from shrinking during baking.
Remove from the fridge and apply another brush of eggwash along the rings.
Place small dariole moulds (height 5 or 6cm) in the four corners of the baking sheet. This will help control the rise of the puff pastry shells while baking...
... and place a baking sheet on top of the dariole moulds. I recommend using a heavy baking sheet, such as black steel. An aluminium baking sheet might not be heavy enough.
Bake in a fan-assisted oven at 170°C (gas 3) for 20 to 25 minutes.
20 minutes later, the pastry cases should have risen to a regular height. Remove the baking sheet on top.
Bake for a further 5 or 10 minutes. At this stage, there is no more risk of the pastry cases collapsing. Make sure the base of the pastry shells is well cooked. Gently lift the vol au vent cases to check.
When cooked, remove from the oven...
... then place the tray on your kitchen worktop and leave to cool.
These homemade vol au vent pastry puffs are really worth the effort. I guarantee you won't want to go back to store-bought puff pastry!
Cooking the veal sweetbread: Organise the necessary ingredients.
Place the sweetbread into a saucepan filled with salted cold water...
... and bring to a boil.
Blanch the sweetbread for 4 or 5 minutes.
When cooked, strain the sweetbread...
... using a skimmer, then transfer gently in a saucepan filled with 2 litres of chicken stock.
Cover the sweetbread with a lid that is smaller than the saucepan in order to keep them totally immersed in the stock.
Cook for one hour at a gentle boil.
Strain the sweetbread and leave to cool.
Pass the leftover chicken stock through a chinois. Set aside.
For the filling: Organise the necessary ingredients.
Wash the button mushrooms and strain.
Cut each mushroom into 5 or 6 slices, according to their size.
Repeat the operation for all the mushrooms. It might seem like a lot of mushrooms, but they will shrink a lot while cooking.
Place the sliced mushrooms in a hot frying pan with 5 cl of olive oil...
... and sauté for 15 or 20 minutes...
... stirring at regular intervals. Set aside.
For the sauce suprême: This is the sauce base for bouchées à la reine. Melt the butter in a saucepan...
... then add the flour...
... and make a white roux. Make sure the white roux doesn't turn brown. Stir constantly with a whisk or spatula. The white roux should cook for 3 or 4 minutes. When cooked, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
When the white roux is cold, heat the chicken stock used to poach the sweetbread (if necessary, add some to have a total of 1.5 litres) and pour the boiling stock over the cold white roux...
... then whisk until homogeneous. This preparation is the base of sauce suprême. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until thick.
Peel the veal sweetbread and remove the veins or stringy bits.
When the peeling operation is done, you should obtain small chunks of sweetbread. Set aside.
Place the sweetbread in a large mixing bowl. If you're using chicken in this recipe, add the chicken quenelles or chicken fillets, cooked beforehand and cut into small chunks.
Add the cooked mushrooms. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, place the crème fraîche...
... the egg yolks...
... and combine with a whisk.
Pour the preparation over the hot sauce suprême. At this stage, the sauce should no longer be boiling.
Add the butter dices and combine well with a whisk.
Add a dash of lemon juice and Madeira wine.
Season with salt, pepper and Espelette pepper.
Pour the sauce over the sweetbread and mushrooms...
... and combine gently with a spatula.
Grate fresh black truffle over the preparation (optional).
Combine again. Keep warm.
Filling the pastry cases: Take the hot vol au vent shells...
... and cut a central hole with a knife...
... to have room for the filling. Reserve the pastry caps.
Arrange each pastry shell on a serving plate, then fill the cavity with the hot sweetbread and mushroom preparation. Serve a generous amount of filling. Arrange the pastry caps on top and serve immediately. Enjoy!