November 30, 1838-a date that will live in food history notoriety. The day the Great Pastry War in Mexico began.
Apparently, a p•tisserie was among many French-owned businesses damaged during civil disobedience in newly independent Mexico. The proprietor, Monsieur Remontel, a French pastry chef, demanded compensation from the Mexican government. They said no, believing the demand too exorbitant. Remontel then appealed to his king, Louis-Philippe, for assistance. The king, taking the destruction of pastry operations very seriously (or perhaps it was displeasure over Mexico’s defaulting on substantial loans), agreed to help. He sent 26 French warships to open fire on the port city of Veracruz.
Now a much more peaceful coexistence between the French and the Mexicans exists with their respective cuisines. In Veracruz, this blended history is deliciously represented by ubiquitous puff pastry seafood pies known as volovanes.
Volovanes de Norteamerica
3 Tbs. butter
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
c. finely chopped shallots
1 c. whipping cream
Â½ c. dry white wine
Â½ c. canned low-salt chicken broth
1Â½ Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
17Â¼-oz. package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
16 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
8 sea scallops, halved horizontally
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots; saute for five minutes. Add cream, wine, and broth. Boil until mixture is reduced to one cup, about 12 minutes. Mix in mustard and vinegar, then spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.
Roll out one pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch square. Place of spinach mixture on the bottom half of one square. Top the spinach mixture with two shrimp and two scallop halves. Brush pastry edges with water. Fold unfilled half of pastry over filling, forming a rectangle. Press edges of pastry closed with fork. Place pastry on large baking sheet. Repeat process.
Bake pastries for five minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake pastries until puffed and golden brown (15 minutes). Serve warm.