Vol au Vent-ing Some Stress

After suddenly disappearing from the blogosphere for about two weeks, I was hoping to just move on and pretend like nothing happened. So far it seems to be working, with not one peep of protest about my irregular posting schedule, and not a single complaint about the wreckage I’ve created on all of my recipe pages trying to add links to printer-friendly versions to varying degrees of success. Has anyone even noticed? What seem like huge changes to me appear to hardly constitute a blip in the collective blog reader’s radar. Nonetheless, I want to come clean- All of this blog neglect stems from yet another new project I’ve taken on, a bigger one than I was thinking of tackling any time soon. Believe it or not, I’m finally getting serious about a career, and decided to get my degree in photography.

Perhaps it was all of the back-to-school hype that finally got to me, but after researching various programs, I found online classes that seemed almost too good to be true. A flexible schedule, no set classroom hours, the ability to move at your own pace, and of course, getting to learn the technical aspects of an art form I’ve been trying to master merely through trial and error… It’s a truly wonderful new opportunity to further my skills.

So I may be a bit short on time in the upcoming months, and for that I apologize. I’ll work on keeping a steady flow of new content from here on in, but I may not be able to keep up with everyone else’s blogs. I’ll still be reading every last one of them though, (all 500+ that I’m subscribed to) even if I’m not commenting.

That being said, time constraints became a much bigger obstacle in complete this month’s Daring Baker challenge than I had originally imagined!

The September 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Thrilled to tackle yet another “dream pastry challenge” on my list, I honed in on that puff pastry, determined to make it the star of the show. While the fillings typically are what make the dessert unique and bring it to life, there’s simply no reason why the flaky pastry base shouldn’t add just as much flavor and excitement. From the get-go, I knew I wanted to make chocolate puff pastry.

What to fill it with was another story altogether- Brainstorms ranged from luscious mousses to fresh fruit jellies, with ornate caramel decorations and perhaps a handful of chocolate caviar to top them all off. Unfortunately, those ideas came before I registered for my new classes, and failed to come to fruition. Scrambling to pull anything decent together at the last moment possible, I had no choice but to scale back on my grand plans in a big way.

Simple, but still plenty tasty, my cocoa puff pastry shells were filled to the brim with homemade lemon verbena-blueberry jam, and just a tiny dollop of my all-time favorite dessert topper, Soyatoo. After laboring for so long on the pastry, I was okay with taking the easy way out this time around, lest I run out of time to study or be forced to forfeit this month’s challenge altogether. Hopefully next time around, I’ll be able to dedicate more time and attention to my baking!

68 thoughts on “Vol au Vent-ing Some Stress

  1. Chocolate puff pastry? That’s why I love ya!

    I am in the middle of a very busy schedule as well. Plus the uncertainty of my future plan. Just have to cope with it some how.

  2. Chocolate puff pastry sounds GOOD! Good luck on your becoming an even better photographer Hannah and hopefully you will still have time to do postings here now and then…

  3. Your chocolate puff pastry looks delicious! Totally worth the time!
    I was excited to see that I got graced with a Hannah comment today on my blog :-) Thanks for taking the time to check in with what’s been going on in my kitchen! I started graduate school last month (to get my teaching credential & masters in education), and have a really intense schedule. So I definitely haven’t been baking as much as usual, or keeping up as well with peoples’ blogs. So I totally understand your stress!

  4. Busy happens to all of us sometimes! We just enjoy what you post when you have time to post it :) And these are no exception. Yum!!!

    Enjoy your new course!

  5. Fantastic that you’re going for a degree in photography! Good choice…:)
    Despite your lack of time I still think your chocolate puff pastry looks amazing. Dark and luscious!

  6. I love the sound of that jam. And no, you don’t get off that easily! I definitely will be pestering you if you are away for too long!

  7. I agree with you, that the ‘charger’ can steal the show and you’ve accomplished that beautifully with your creation.
    Kudos to you, hope to give this a try in the near future.

  8. I was wondering what you were studying. I was thinking English, culinary or photography. Photography seems to fit really well. I did miss your posts but glad you’re just busy. Yumyum this pastry looks delicious. I can’t wait for your next book.

  9. I noticed that I received over FLUXRSS as frequently as before, but I thought you’d be back to school or another;)

    I think you and I may be similar in our passion;)
    You love baking, too! And there … I hear that you will follow courses Photgraphie strange because I am also passionate about photography, I have another site where I show my photos. I am a camera “bridge”
    You have talent, both in the kitchen that photo, very pro! Especially when photographing flat cooking is much more complicated than a church or a building.

    I would offer me a DSLR, but the price here is so expensive, I think that is double the U.S. price: (

    So I wish you much luck in your journey and if by chance you decide to create a photo website, let us know we can go look at what you do.
    I am not able to speak English because I’m sure google does not translate correctly and suddenly you do not understand can not be all that I write: (

    Your challenge is always successful, un grand bravo!

  10. Congrats on taking the leap, and don’t worry, we’ll all be here when you post–no matter how sporadic your posting schedule! Your photography and your writing make every visit here worthwhile.

    Casual Kitchen

  11. Chocolate puff pastry. Only you would think of those. Wow! And, of course, we missed you. I check your blog every day; we all just figured life was happening. Congrats on the photography school.

  12. I like the idea of the chocolate puff pastry and yours looks delicious. I’m not crazy about desserts, but yours looks wonderful. Good luck with the schooling. Online classes often seem to demand more of a time commitment than regular classes. At least you may be able to tie some assignments to your postings.

  13. well you definitely have a great start in photography already and will have so much fun learning the tricks of the trade. So, do you plan on doing commercial photography?

  14. congrats on going back to school, hannah! i think it will be well worth it. i have to say, i am very excited that i graduated and finished the school thing for now, though! :)

  15. I know how you feel, big plans and then classes take over and that is it no more time to focus on DB even if you want to. At least you got to make chocolate puff pastry which is even more challenging. Way to go.

  16. Cocoa puff pastry sounds (and looks!) great. I’m glad you could find a little time and made the effort to get these lovely vol au vents. Well done!

  17. I noticed you were quiet and I missed you, but I didn’t say anything because people get busy and I didn’t want to make you feel guilty for not posting! I felt terrible those three weeks I didn’t post anything while I was moving, but everything’s back to normal now. Glad to have you back, and congratulations on school!

  18. that pastry is so yummy looking! and i noticed you were gone.. i just havent had time to comment either!!!! lol and i figured you were busy with a new project or school! congrats on the chosen career path Hannah – i can assure you.. you will be AWESOME in it!

  19. amazing puff with great rise! i have to try making a chocolate dough sometime…so many delicious possibilities! congratulations on going back-to-school–hopepully you’ll be posting some of your assigments as you go along!

  20. Last minute or not, your V-a-Vs look lovely. And congrats on the decidon to take photography as a career choice. Looking forward to even better pics here. :)

  21. The very concept of homemade puff pastry TERRIFIES me, so I am in awe – yet again – to your formidable skills and confidence in the kitchen!

  22. Ahhh you read 500 blogs!! I would go bananas trying to keep up with so many! That’s so exciting and awesome that you found a program that works for you. Hopefully you’ll share some of your photos from your classes here? Your chocolate vol-au-vents look so perfect and delicious.

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