***Note: If you intend to make from scratch, the Puff Pastry needs to be made at least a day in advance as it takes so long to make. Forming the pastry cases is fussy work, so to save time you can use frozen puff pastry shells. Just prepare them according to package directions***
Puff Pastry from scratch:
Ingredients for Butter Block:
3 sticks cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
Ingredients for Dough:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick cold butter, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ingredients for Tomato-Feta Filling:
5 ounces feta cheese, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoons dried basil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions for Butter Block:
Combine the butter, lemon juice, and flour, and mix with your fingers. Knead briefly until combined. Form into a square and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out the butter to a 7-inch square. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Directions for Dough:
Whisk together the flour and salt. Add the 1/2 stick butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture becomes mealy. Add the water and lemon juice and stir to combine. Knead briefly until a rough dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten slightly, and cut a cross halfway through the dough almost to the edges with a sharp knife. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make Puff Pastry
Step 1:Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a flour-dusted surface. Pull the edges of the cross open from the center of the dough to create a rough square. Sprinkle flour on top and roll out the dough to an 11-inch square. Remove the butter block from the refrigerator and peel off the parchment paper. Place the block onto the square of dough so that the corners point to the center of the lines of the square (it should look like a diamond shape). Bring the dough up over the butter and pinch the edges together. Roll it out into a rectangle 1/2-inch thick. Fold the rectangle into thirds like a business letter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. This is called a "turn".
Step 2:To make the second turn, remove the dough from the refrigerator and lay it horizontally on a flour-dusted work surface. Roll it into a rectangle 1/2-inch thick. Fold the rectangle into thirds like a business letter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Repeat the turns 3 more times, resting the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour between each turn. This makes about 2 pounds 10 ounces of puff pastry; you will not need all of it to make the vol-au-vents.
Step 3:To make the pastry cases, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut off 2/3 of the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on a floured surface. Use a 3 1/2-inch cutter to cut out twelve circles of dough. Use a 3-inch cutter to cut out centers, making thin rings. Set the rings aside on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the remaining centers one by one very thin (you will need to flour the work surface and the tops of the pastry circles again). Use the 3 1/2-inch cutters to cut out new circles from the rolled-out centers. Prick holes in these circles with a fork and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, six circles to a sheet. Brush the edges with water and carefully attach the rings to the edges to form cases. Refrigerate the cases for 1 hour.
Step 4:Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove one baking sheet from the refrigerator and line each case with small pieces of aluminum foil. Fill the foil with beans or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375F and bake another 20 minutes until the dough is set. Remove the foil and weights and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until light golden brown. Raise the heat to 400F and repeat with the second sheet. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
To Complete Puff Pastry Dish:
To make the Tomato-Feta Filling, combine all the filling ingredients and fill the cases. ENJOY!!!