Vol-au-Vent - Definition and Recipes


Vol-au-Vent is a hollow casing made of puff pastry into which delicious recipes are added.  The finished products are often selected for epicurean menus in fine dining establishments.

How to Make the Vol-au-Vent

  • Roll out on a lightly floured table 1 lb. of Feuilletage (Puff Pastry), to 3/4 inch in thickness
  • Then with a round six-inch pastry cutter, cut out a piece
  • Lightly wet a small cold pastry pan, place the cut-out piece of feuilletage in the pan upside down
  • Lightly egg the surface; then with the point of a knife carefully cut a ring on the surface of the paste 1/2-inch-deep and 1 inch from the outer edge
  • Be very careful not to exceed the depth of 1/2 an inch in cutting, leaving 1/4 inch uncut
  • Make 4 incisions, lengthwise, on the centerpiece of the paste in the pan and set in the oven to bake moderately for 40 minutes
  • Remove from the oven, lift the cover of the vol-au-vent, carefully remove all the uncooked paste from the interior and keep in a warm place until required.

Vol-au-Vent a la Financière

Vol-au-Vent a la Financière

Vol-au-Vent Recipes

Chicken Vol-Au-Vent with Mushrooms

(Vol-au-Vent de Volaille aux Champignons)

Prepare the crust as for the Financière, reduce some velouté with mushroom stock; When done, thicken with raw egg-yolks diluted with a little cream, then incorporate a piece of fresh butter, pass it through a tammy, and add to this sauce some braised white of chicken free of skin, sinews, or fat, and half the same quantity of mushroom heads or cut-up mushrooms; When the crust is very hot, also the garnishing, fill and lay the cover over, then serve.

The chicken may be replaced by braised sweetbreads or spring lamb, either of which should be well pared and cut in slices.

Chicken Vol-Au-Vent, Hay

Carefully skin and bone a tender, raw chicken of 2 1/2 to 3 pounds and cut all the meat into inch-square pieces. 

Heat 1 tablespoon melted butter in a large frying pan and add the chicken; season with a heavy teaspoon salt and 2 saltspoons cayenne pepper; gently cook on the range for 8 minutes, occasionally tossing; add 6 peeled, well-cleaned, sliced heads fresh mushrooms; lightly toss again and let slowly cook for 5 minutes; dredge in a teaspoon flour, lightly mixing while doing so; pour in half-pint cold milk, gently mix and slowly boil for 10 minutes; add a small sliced truffle, one-gill cream, and a tablespoon Madeira wine; lightly mix and boil for 5 minutes; add 1/2 teaspoon chopped chives; dilute an egg yolk in a tablespoon milk and add to the chicken; lightly mix while heating without boiling, for 2 minutes. Remove and fill up a vol-au-vent with the preparation. Cover it and serve.

Salt Codfish Vol-Au-Vent

(Vol-au-Vent de Morue Salée)

Cut some salted codfish in two-inch pieces, pare them evenly, and lay in cold water to soak for 24 hours, changing the water every 6 hours; the last change must be slightly tepid. 

When ready to cook, put it into a saucepan containing cold water; bring this slowly to a boiling point and leave for three-quarters of an hour without allowing it to actually boil.  Drain, take off all the skin and bones and then shred it in flakes.  Put these in a saucepan with cream Béchamel sauce.  

With this prepared fish, fill a vol-au-vent crust, dress it on a very hot dish, and serve.  It can also be prepared with eggs, adding to the fish hard-boiled eggs and finely chopped parsley and chives.

Small Vol-Au-Vent à la Lucini

(Petits Vol-au-vent à la Lucini)

Prepare the small vol-au-vent; when cooked take off the covers, empty out the insides and replace these covers by a game quenelle one inch and a half in diameter by an eighth of an inch thick; poach and bread-crumb them by dipping them in Villeroi sauce then rolling them in bread-crumbs, then fry to a good color.

Put into a saucepan some brown sauce and Madeira wine; add to this some game fumet mixed with a garnishing composed of two-thirds of small young rabbit quenelles molded in a small coffeespoon and one-third of small turned mushroom heads, or in case there be no small ones then cut-up others in two or four pieces.

With this garnishing, fill the small crusts, lay the Villeroi quenelle on top and in the center of it a round slice of truffle one inch in diameter and glaze over.

Small Vol-Au-Vent of Oysters à la Maintenon

(Petits Vol-au-vent d'Huitres à la Maintenon)

Set into a saucepan some fresh butter and lemon juice, place it over a hot fire, and add to it some fine raw oysters; after poaching and draining them cut them into pieces, return to the saucepan and season with nutmeg, pepper and salt, and then add some pike quenelles; also some cut-up truffles and mushrooms; add a little velouté sauce and thicken it just when ready to serve with raw egg-yolks diluted with a little cream and fine butter.

Fill the small vol-au-vent crusts with this, keeping all very warm, put on the cover and serve on a folded napkin.

Small Vol-Au-Vent of Reedbirds, Diplomate

(Petits Vol-au-vent de Mésanges Moustaches à la Diplomate)

With six turns of puff paste prepare eight small vol-au-vent crusts after taking them out of the oven detach them from the baking sheet and press on the center of the paste to enlarge the hollow space and keep them warm.

Roast two dozen reedbirds, having them rare; remove the breasts without any bones, suppress the skin and lay them in a small sautoir; mix with them an equal proportion of halved game quenelles, molded with a spoon and poached when wanted in salted water; also add three dozen cooked truffles trimmed into small olive shapes.

Mix these garnishings with a not too thin but very hot Madeira sauce, and with this fill up the warm vol-au-vent crusts; instead of a cover close the apertures with a ring made of puff paste, and in the center have a large Spanish olive standing upright, stuffed with game baking forcemeat and foies-gras. Dress this vol-au-vent on a folded napkin and send them to the table at once.

Small Vol-Au-Vent of Salmon Trout à la Regence

(Petits Vol-au-vent de Truite Saumonée à la Régence)

The only difference between bouchées and small vol-au-vent is that bouchées are filled with either a salpicon or a purée, while vol-au-vent are filled with small, distinct garnishings.

Prepare eight or ten small vol-au-vent crusts (No. 180); cook them in a brisk oven; remove and detach them from the pan, impress a hollow in the center with the finger and keep them warm.

Put into a small saucepan a garnishing composed of a pound of salmon-trout escalops, twelve small poached oysters, twelve mushrooms or cut up morils, twelve small fish quenelles rolled on a floured table and poached, also some small cut-up poached milts; cover these with a rich and very hot Normande sauce finishing with a piece of lobster butter.

Fill the warm vol-au-vent crusts with this garnishing, cover lightly with some of the sauce instead of a lid, and close the aperture with a pretty mushroom head, turned and very white, left in its natural state. Dress the vol-au-vent at once on folded napkins; they can also be filled with one garnishing only.

Small Vol-Au-Vent, Parisian Style

(Petits Vol-au-vent à la Parisienne)

Have a brown or Madeira sauce and add to it some half-inch squares of veal or lamb sweetbreads, stoned olives cut in four, turned mushrooms and small chicken quenelles.

Fill prepared small vol-au-vent crusts with this garnishing and arrange trussed crawfish on top, then cover.

Vol-Au-Vent à la Delmontes

(Vol-au-Vent a la Delmontes)

Prepare small vol-au-vent are. Prepare also a brown Espagnole sauce with Marsala wine, into which mix equal parts of cooked unsmoked beef tongue, cut in balls three-eighths of an inch in diameter with a vegetable spoon, foies-gras quenelles made with foies-gras forcemeat of the same size, or else replace these by marrow quenelles of the same diameter, small mushrooms and the cutaneous part of a calf's head cut the same size.

Properly heat the whole and fill the small vol-au-vent crusts with it; on each one, place a round quarter-inch in diameter slice of calf's brains breaded and fried, over this a stuffed Spanish olive, and the whole surmounted by a ball of truffle glazed over with meat glaze.

Vol-Au-Vent à la Dieppoise

Prepare and keep hot a vol-au-vent. Place in a saucepan 24 cooked shelled shrimps, 18 freshly opened little neck clams without the liquid, 12 whole canned mushrooms, 1 small sliced truffle.

Tie in a bunch 2 branches parsley and 2 branches chervil and add to pan, moisten with a gill white wine and two gills broth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, saltspoon cayenne pepper, and saltspoon grated nutmeg, lightly shuffle pan; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Mix in another saucepan 1ounce butter with 1 1/2 ounces flour, heat half a minute, then strain liquid from the other pan into this, continually mix until it comes to a boil and boil 5 minutes; dilute an egg yolk in half gill cream, add it to the sauce, and sharply mix with a whisk while cooking one minute.

Remove the bouquet, pour sauce into another pan with ingredients, and lightly mix. Place the vol-au-vent on a hot dish, fill up with the preparation, sprinkle a little-chopped parsley over, place the cover on and serve.

Vol-au-Vent à la Financière

Make some puff paste as described in Vol-Au-Vent Crust recipe - give the paste 6 turns, and roll it out to a ¾ inch thickness; lay a stewpan cover, of the size of the dish on which the vol-au-vent will be served, on the paste, and cut round it with a small plain or fluted knife;

Turn the paste over on to a baking-sheet; brush over the top with egg, and make a circular incision, ¼ inch deep, with a knife, leaving a 1-inch margin all round;

Put the paste in the oven; and, when it is cooked, remove the cover, which will have risen in the baking, and trim off the uncooked paste from the inside; brush the crust inside with egg, and put it back for five minutes in the oven;

Put the vol-au-vent on a dish; fill it with Financière Ragout (Equal quantities of sliced truffles, foie gras scallops, cocks' combs, cocks' kernels, mushrooms, chicken quenelles; mixed in Financière sauce)

Place 4 large crayfish on the top, with a cock's comb between each, and a large turned mushroom in the center; and serve.

Vol-Au-Vent à la Nesle

Take some well-buttered allemande sauce reduced with mushroom essence.   Add to it some chicken quenelles made of chicken quenelle forcemeat molded with a coffeespoon, small turned and cooked mushrooms and cooked lean ham cut in 3/8-inch squares.  

When both the garnishing and crust are very hot fill up in layers alternated with slices of calf's brains cooked when ready to use and then well drained. Decorate the top with fine trussed crawfish and serve.

Vol-au-Vent à la Normande

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust as above;

Make a Ragout a la Normande of fillets of soles, cut into scallops, oysters, mussels, and sliced mushrooms;

Reduce some Velouté Sauce Maigre with the liquor in which the mussels have been cooked; thicken it with yolks of egg; add the ragout to the sauce; mix and fill the vol-au-vent with it; place the paste cover on the top; and serve.

Vol-Au-Vent Ancient Style

Reduce some velouté sauce with sweetbread stock and thicken it with egg-yolks.   Run it through a tammy, and mix in with this sauce some godiveau quenelles, medium-sized mushroom heads, cocks’ combs, slices of liver, and minced truffles. 

Fill the crust, as explained in à la Financière with this very hot garnishing, and replace the cover by small, pretty kernels of sweetbreads and trussed crawfish.

Uncooked Vol-au-Vent Crust

Uncooked Vol-au-Vent Crust

Vol-au-Vent Crust

Prepare the puff-paste as directed below:

  • Sift one lb. of flour on to the mixing-board.
  • Make a hollow in it, and put therein one-third oz. of table salt and about one-half pint of cold water, and mix without kneading.
  • Mass the paste together, and let it rest for twenty minutes, that it may lose its elasticity, which will be all the more pronounced for its having been very much worked. It is to avoid this elasticity, therefore, that the mixing of puff-paste should be effected with the smallest amount of kneading possible.
  • Spread the prepared paste on a flour-dusted board, in the shape of an even galette. Spread thereon one lb. of softened butter, without completely covering the paste; draw the edges of the paste towards the centre, in such wise as to enclose the butter completely, and to form a square thickness of paste.
  • Leave to rest for a further ten minutes, and then begin the working of the paste; rolling it out to the length of one and one-half feet, and keeping it one inch. thick. Fold this layer over thrice, and press upon it with the roller so as to join the super posed layers. The whole of this operation constitutes one turn.
  • Begin another turn immediately, turning the paste the reverse way, and folding it as before. Set it to rest in the cool for eight or ten minutes, and then effect two more turns.
  • Ten minutes after the two last turns (there should be six in all), the puff-paste is ready to be cut up and used.

Vol-au-Vent Crust

Vol-au-Vent Crust

Vol-au-Vent CrustRemarks relative to puff-paste: Good puff-paste should be buttered to the extent of one lb. per one and one-half lbs., i.e., one lb. of butter for every one lb. of flour mixed with one-half pint of water.

The consistence of the paste and the butter should be exactly the same, if they are to be evenly mixed; the butter ought therefore to be softened—more particularly in winter.

In preparing puff-paste, remember to put it in a cool place while it is resting; but never directly upon ice; for, though the ice would not affect the paste, it might seriously affect the butter.

It would harden it to the extent of preventing its perfect mixture with the mass, and lumps would form.  Puff-paste should be rolled out very regularly, with the view of thoroughly distributing the butter throughout the preparation, and thus ensuring its uniform rising.

Puff-paste should not be worked too speedily; for, if it be so worked, it will be found to acquire an elasticity which not only makes it difficult to cut up, but also tends to make it shrink in the baking.

Make the layer of paste of an even thickness of four-fifths inch; set thereon an overturned plate or a saucepan-lid, the size of which should be that intended for the Vol-au-vent, and cut the paste obliquely, following round the edges of the lid or plate with a small knife.

Turn the layer of paste over, and set it on a slightly moistened round baking sheet; groove it all round; gild it, and describe a circle on top of it with the point of a knife, one and one-quarter inches away from the edge, to form the cover of the Vol-au-Vent.

Streak this cover crisscross fashion; also streak the body of the Vol-au-vent with the point of a small knife, and bake it in a rather hot oven.

Upon withdrawing the Vol-au-vent from the oven, remove its cover, and clear it of the soft crumb which will be found on its inside.

Vol-au-Vent de Cervelle

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust.

Slice the brains, and put the slices into half-a-pint of Allemande sauce, with twelve quenelles of ordinary forcemeat, poached just before dishing up; four oz. of small, cooked mushrooms, and one oz. of truffle slices, five or six of which should be reserved.

Pour the garnish into the vol-au-vent; set upon the latter the reserved slices of truffle, and dish on a folded napkin.

Vol-au-Vent de Pigeonneaux

Make the vol-au-vent crust.

Suppress the feet and the pinions; poèle the squabs, and only just cook them.

Cut each bird into four, and mix them with a garnish “à la Financière’’ consisting of small heaps of quenelles made from chicken, mousseline forcemeat; grooved, button-mushroom heads; cocks' combs and kidneys; slices of truffle, and blanched olives. Add a small quantity of half-glaze sauce prepared with truffle essence.

Combine with the poëling-liquor.

Pour the whole into a vol-au-vent crust, and dish on a napkin.

Vol-au-Vent Marinière

Place in a saucepan twenty-four large oysters, 12 fresh shrimps, 12 heads canned mushrooms, 12 cooked mussels, 6 very thin slices of truffles. Pour in one-gill white wine, adding half ounce good butter. Season with one teaspoon salt; cover the pan and place it in a hot oven for ten minutes; remove from the oven.

Heat in a small saucepan 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter adding 2 tablespoons flour; stir well, then strain the gravy of the above preparation into the pan; season with a saltspoon cayenne, pepper, whisk briskly with the whisk for 2 minutes; boil for 3 minutes, add a Hollandaise sauce, mix well for a minute, then add all the contents of the fish pan; Mix well again and heat for 2 minutes without allowing to boil then with the preparation fill a vol-au-vent. Dress on a dish and serve.

Vol-Au-Vent of Frog Legs

Prepare and keep hot a vol-au-vent. Trim off feet from 1 1/2 pounds very fresh frog legs. Heat 2 tablespoons melted butter in a frying pan, add the legs; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a saltspoon cayenne, gently mix with a fork and cook 5 minutes; add 4 very finely chopped shallots, mix well and cook 6 minutes more, occasionally tossing meanwhile; add 1 good tablespoon flour, stir well, then moisten with a half gill sherry, 1 1/2 gills hot milk and 1/2 gill cream, adding 6 sliced canned mushrooms; mix with the fork and cook 5 minutes more, add a 1/2 teaspoon chopped chives, mix lightly and cook 1 minutes longer.

Dilute one egg yolk with a tablespoon cream and 1/2-ounce good butter and add to the frog legs, continually tossing while heating without boiling for 2 minutes; place the vol-au-vent on a hot dish, fill up with the preparation, place the cover on and serve.

Vol-Au-Vent of Frogs and Soubise Eggs

(Vol-au-Vent de Grenouilles et d'Œufs Soubise)

Prepare the vol-au-vent crust.  Fry colorless in a pan with butter some frogs' legs; drain, bone, and lay them in a saucepan.  Boil some eggs for eight minutes to have them very hard; shell and cut lengthwise in two, then across in two.  Add them to the frog's legs, and some well-buttered soubise sauce. 

Butter it well, heat all very slowly, and then fill the vol-au-vent crust, placing the removed cover on top.

Forcemeat Pie (Tourte de Godiveau aka Vol-Au-Vent of Godiveaux

Forcemeat Pie (Tourte de Godiveau aka Vol-Au-Vent of Godiveaux

Vol-Au-Vent of Godiveaux

(Vol-au-Vent With Veal Sausage)

Prepare a vol-au-vent and keep hot. Finely chop 1 1/2 lean, raw, lean veal with a pound of well-picked, fresh beef-kidney suet. Place in a bowl, cover with a cloth and bury it in ice for one hour.

Place the hash in a cold mortar and pound to a paste, season with a teaspoon salt, 2 saltspoons cayenne pepper, a saltspoon grated nutmeg, and saltspoon ground mixed allspice, adding 3 egg yolks.

Pound again for 5 minutes. Place on a lightly floured table, then make small balls the size of cherries and plunge in a pint and a half boiling broth. Boil for 2 minutes, drain on a sieve and keep the broth.

Mix in a saucepan 1/2-ounce butter with 1-ounce flour and heat for a half minute; strain the broth into this pan, add a half gill cream, season with a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 saltspoon each cayenne pepper and grated nutmeg; mix until it comes to a boil, let boil for 10 minutes, then dilute an egg yolk with a tablespoon cream, add to the sauce, and mix while heating for one minute; add the godiveaux, lightly mix, cook for one minute more; dress the vol-au-vent on a large dish and pour into the vol-au-vent, place the cover on and serve.

Vol-Au-Vent of Little Neck Clams

Prepare and keep hot a vol-au-vent. Place 48 freshly opened little neck clams in a small saucepan with their own liquid; add 1/2-pint water and let come to a boil; skim scum from surface, then strain broth into a bowl. Place in a saucepan 1-ounce butter with 2 ounces flour and continually stir while heating for one minute; pour in 1/2 gills of the clam broth with 1/2 gill milk, a gill cream, 2 tablespoons sherry, 3 saltspoons salt, 1 saltspoon each cayenne and grated nutmeg; mix with wooden spoon until it comes to a boil, add the clams, mix a little and let boil for 5 minutes.

Dilute 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons cream and add to the clams with the juice of a quarter lemon; continually mix while heating without boiling for 2 minutes, remove and dress the vol-au-vent on a large hot dish, pour the clams into it, cover and serve.

Vol-Au-Vent of Oysters

(Vol-au-Vent d'Huitres)

Prepare either one large or sufficient small vol-au-vent.  Poach a few dozen large oysters in white wine and their own liquor, and when well drained, pare and lay them in a small saucepan. 

On the other hand, put on to reduce two gills of good Bechamel sauce, incorporating into it slowly a part of the oyster juice, and when the sauce is considerably reduced and thick, finish it with a little cream. 

Pour this over the oysters and heat them in a bain-marie without allowing them to boil.  At the last moment fill the vol-au-vent with this prepared garnishing and serve very hot.

Vol-au-Vent with Chicken Forcemeat Quenelles

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust

Butter a sauté-pan slightly;

With two tablespoons, shape some Chicken Forcemeat quenelles of the size of an egg; set them in the saucepan; pour some boiling consommé over the quenelles; poach, drain, and mix them in some Allemande Sauce, and fill the vol-au-vent with the quenelles;

Place some truffle scallops and turned mushrooms, in a circle, round the top, and pile up some sliced truffles in the center; and serve.

Vol-au-Vent with Eggs à la Béchamel

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust as directed for Vol-au-vent a la Financière, reserving the paste cover;

Boil some eggs for ten minutes; cool, peel, and cut them in slices l inch thick; mix the slices lightly, so as not to break them, in some Bechamel Sauce Maigre; fill the vol-au-vent with the eggs; put on the paste cover; and serve.

Vol-au-Vent with Fish Quenelles and Soft Roes

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust as aforesaid;

With two teaspoons, mold some Pike Forcemeat quenelles to the size of a pigeon's egg; poach and mix the quenelles in some Périgueux Sauce Maigre; fill the vol-au-vent with them; place some carp soft roes on the top; and serve, with some more sauce in a boat.

Vol-au-Vent with Rabbit Forcemeat Quenelles

Make a vol-au-vent crust as described for Vol-au-vent a la

Financière ;

Fill it with some Rabbit Forcemeat quenelles, mixed in some Espagnole Sauce, reduced with Essence of Rabbit; and serve.

Vol-au-Vent with Salmon Scollops

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust;

Cut some cooked salmon into equal- sized scallops; mix them in some Allemande Sauce; fill the vol-au-vent with the scallops; place 5 crayfish round the top to form a border and pile up some sliced mushrooms in the center; and serve.

Vol-au-Vent with Salt Cod à la Béchamel

Make and bake a vol-au-vent crust as above; reserving the paste cover;

Fill the vol-au-vent with some boiled salt cod scallops, mixed in Bechamel Sauce Maigre; lay the paste cover on the top; and serve.

Vol-au-Vent with Turbot à la Béchamel

Prepare a vol-au-vent crust as directed for Vol-au-vent a la Financière;

Cut some cooked turbot into scallops, and mix them in some Bechamel Sauce Maigre;

Fill the crust with the scallops, and place 5 crayfish in a circle round the top; and serve.

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