Said to have been created by the famous French chef Careme, a vol-au-vent is a puff pastry shell that resembles a pot with a lid. The shell is generally filled with a creamy sauce (most often a velouté sauce) containing vegetables, chicken, meat or fish. The lid is placed on the filled shell and the pastry is then served as an appetizer, also known as a bouchée, or as the main course of a meal. When prepared, the pastry dough is flattened and cut into two circles. A smaller circle is cut out of the center of one of the circles, which then will be used as the lid. The circle without the center cut and the circle with the center cut are then joined together around the edges so as the pastry bakes, it rises into a shell with a hole in the top. The lid, which is baked seperately, is added later. The pastry shell may be made the size of an individual serving or it can be made in several different sizes to become a main serving for one or a larger size to be served for more than one.
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