Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Whisk Wednesdays—Bouchées aux Crevettes (Puff Pastry Shells Filled with Shrimp and Mushrooms)

Bouchées aux Crevettes (Puff Pastry Shells Filled with Shrimp and Mushrooms)Before I set out to work through Le Cordon Bleu's cooking school curriculum, I would buy a box of frozen patty shells, or vol-au-vent, to make fancy appetizers for a special dinner. Now, I'm making puff pastry at home and finding satisfaction in seeing all those layers in something I created from flour, water and butter. Although my home versions aren't hexagonal and have a bit of a rustic look, they don't have the hydrogenated soybean and palm oils that are in the store-bought version either.

I haven't made puff pastry very often…actually only twice before. The technique came back to me as I worked with it, but I still need some practice to avoid the butter seeping through the layers. It really didn't take that much hands-on time either. In-between, while it rested in the refrigerator, I had enough time to check on Twitter, email and catch up a bit on reading blogs.

Have you made puff pastry? Check out the results of the poll.
After baking the puff pastry, I turned to the filling. This was another recipe review and came together easily. The sauce is a béchamel with both milk and crème fraîche. It is poured over cooked shrimp and chopped mushrooms with a flambé thrown in for extra fun and flavor. A sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper, a garnish of common parsley, and it was ready for service.

Confession time: I just finished reading Mark Bittman's post, "TV Cooking vs. Real Cooking" and thought that there's Blog Cooking vs. Real Cooking too. I try to keep it real on this blog. I make things from scratch for the most part and tell you when I haven't actually filleted the fish or butchered the cow, and when I've used Cognac instead of Armagnac. Well, for this post I didn't have Cognac. In fact, I didn't have any alcohol that could be substituted. All I had was vodka. So, for my mise en place photo, I added a bit of vanilla to make it look like Cognac, and I'm sure it doesn't even achieve that. (shameful, I know) Then I forgot about it. When the recipe said to flambé, I poured in my "doctored" vodka and lit it up. A lovely vanilla scent wafted up, and a few expletives were said. Vanilla in this savory dish does not work. I should have used vodka or skipped the flambé step altogether, but lighting food is so much fun. That will teach me for not being real. I hope you'll forgive my madness and continue reading my blog!


Serves 6 (I halved the recipe.)

Bouchées aux Crevettes (Puff Pastry Shells Filled with Shrimp and Mushrooms) mise en place
For the Puff Pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/3 to 1 ½ cups cold water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
28 ounces unsalted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten, for glazing

For the Shrimp and Mushroom Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¾ cups cold milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream (I would use sour cream instead.)
5 ounces mushrooms, trimmed, rinsed, dried, and chopped fine
1¾ pounds small cooked shrimp
3 tablespoons Cognac
Pinch of paprika

Chervil or parsley for garnish

Unsalted butter, softened, for baking sheet

You can find the recipe for Bouchées aux Crevettes (Puff Pastry Shells Filled with Shrimp and Mushrooms) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Bouchées (Puff Pastry Shells)Tasting Notes
I loved the buttery crunch of the pastry, the creaminess of the sauce, the nuttiness from the mushrooms and the chew of the shrimp all in one bite. This was a very satisfying appetizer to make from scratch. If only it didn't have that hint of vanilla!

Next Class
• Mouclade (Mussels with Wine and Cream Sauce) pages 39-40

. . . . . . . . . .

Running total: $1,230.06 + $6.14 (puff pastry) + $8.06 (shrimp and mushroom sauce) = $1,244.26
($ 4.73 per serving)

Butter used so far: 11 pounds, 8.5 tablespoons

. . . . . . . . . .
::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.
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    Maria said...

    What an elegant meal and glad you got that confession out there..ha!

    Cathy said...

    I forgive you, and of course I'll keep reading - LOL! I hope you feel better now that you got that confession off your chest. You know, I would say it was 50/50 that the vanilla would have turned out to be an amazing addition! Sorry it didn't work out that way. I am so impressed that you make your own puff pastry - even TV chef Ina Garten doesn't do that! This looks delicious.

    Unknown said...

    That looks so yummy! I have never made my own puff pastry but I'd really like to eventually. Oh, and your confession is too funny :)

    Lo said...

    Heh. Blog cooking. Doesn't it feel good to make that confession?

    I know what you mean about keeping it real, though. I appreciate the fact that you DO!

    PheMom said...

    You are still myhero for sure! No matter what happened it still looks awesome!

    Kayte said...

    OMW...I am laughing so hard about the vanilla are such a hoot! I completely forgot about the alcohol at all until just now...I forgot to add it at all...OMW...oh, well, it tasted so great without time I will remember it. I am clueless why my circular shells turned out oval...they went in circular, I thought! I love working the puff pastry is so relaxing and it is unlike any other soft and lovely. Yours looks really great. I have a whole lot of leftover sauce...guess it will be a fancy mac-n-cheese tonight. How on earth do the French stay so thin???

    La Bella Cooks said...

    This is a gorgeous meal! I could easily get used to having this!

    Eliana said...

    I am so intimidated by making my own puff pastry. You (and htis post) just gave me some inspiration.

    Dishin And Dishes said... favorite things-mushrooms, shrimp and puff pastry! These will be fun to make for my husband and I's date nite! Thanks!

    Hillary said...

    Honestly, that is some of the best looking shrimp I have ever seen! Great looking dish!

    Carrie said...

    Yum, this looks so great! Mushrooms and shrimp are a couple of my favorite ingredients.

    Engineer Baker said...

    And that's why I don't do mise-en-place photos (well, actually it's because I'm not that organized...). :) I've made croissant dough, but never puff pastry - definitely need to get on that one.

    Jeff said...

    hahaha I read the vanilla part and can relate to doing something similar. Actually I was in such a rush before trying to snap pictures and such that I actually forgot to put artichokes into my artichoke chicken before hitting the oven. Noticed it when I pulled the chicken out of the oven and saw the bowl of artichokes sitting right there. Unrecoverable mistakes such.

    Sara said...

    I've never made puff pastry before, but I've always wanted to try! This looks really delicious.

    Kevin said...

    I made croissants for a living for nine months - I'm quite happy buying frozen puff pastry. For some reason though, your recipe immediately reminded me of a scallop and mushroom crepe I make (and I do still make crepes).

    lisaiscooking said...

    Great job with the puff pastry, and thanks for your honesty! I enjoy reading 'real' cooking stories on blogs.

    Sippity Sup said...

    Maybe the vanilla flambe was not what you were after but I am sure it was a lovely bright flame! GREG

    Ms. Foodie said...

    What a beautiful blog! I will come back and visit it regularly.

    The Food Librarian said...

    I don't care what you did with alcohol and vanilla...because it looks fantastic!!! Amazing!

    Anonymous said...

    OMG. How funny about the vanilla. I love that you make your own puff pastry.

    pam said...

    Homemade puff pastry!!!

    Monica H said...

    I'm going to keep on reading just because you're so honest.

    Very ambitious to make your own puff pastry. Lovely too.

    Giff said...

    I too cracked up about the vanilla vodka. :) I haven't yet tackled puff pastry at home, but I do need to try one of these days.

    Anonymous said...

    wow you are so fancy! do you have your own catering business yet? if not, you need one!! i love the pretty puff pastry!

    Anonymous said...

    Absolutely lovely Shari! Do make this again...with brandy perhaps! LOL! I'm sorry for your mistake, but I'm grateful for the laugh! Happy Whisking my friend!

    Manggy said...

    Hee hee, that was really funny. I can just imagine you thinking, OMG, this is so clever, this'll be awesome... Boom! It's vanilla-ish and weird. But I still totally bow at your feet for making your own pastry... Sigh :)

    NKP said...

    I love that you have confessed to such a funny mistake!
    What cute little appetizers, good for you for making your own puff pastry.

    Rabbittrick said...

    oh my god, heaven!

    I stumbled upon the page and what greeted me was such a delectably coy shrimp bouchees that I was immediately smitten =)

    Elyse said...

    These look totally delicious. I adore shrimp, just love 'em. And putting them on some puff pastry seems like a perfect idea.

    Marc @ NoRecipes said...

    Your puff pastry shells look so perfect. Nicely done!

    angela@spinachtiger said...

    Your dish looks beautiful. The "vanilla" was sort of funny, but bravo to you for cooking like me and doing that "what if." Sometimes it doesn't work out, but when it does, you do the happy dance. You get to do the happy dance a lot more than not. Your fabulous.

    shayma said...

    interesting- a bechamel with milk and creme fraiche. must be luscious and rich. oh how i love whisk wednesdays!