I don’t have a sweet tooth. And I am definitely not crazy about cookies or pies or crisps or crumbles — I guess I don’t like most doughy baked stuff. Cakes, I am okay with. I know, I am strange. BUT, I make an exception for Palmiers. What’s not to like about these heart-shaped, flaky pastries made from three simple ingredients – flour, butter and sugar. It’s unbelievably easy to bake them at home, PROVIDED you can find ready-made puff pastry sheets. They are very easily available in the frozen foods section of most grocery stores around here.
The recipe below has been adapted (ever so slightly) from Ina Garten‘s. It’s the simplest version, but you can add all sorts of yummy things like nuts, jam, honey, chocolate, fruits, cardamom, orange zest, desiccated coconut etc. to them. And of course, one can always make a savory version with endless variations.You can prepare them in advance and freeze them until your are ready to bake.
- Puff pastry sheets – 2
- Sugar – 1 cup (Ina uses 2 cups, but I like them to be a little less sweet. But don’t worry, 2 cups doesn’t mean that all of it goes inside the Palmiers. Read on.)
- Salt – 1/4 teaspoon (Ina uses 1/8 teaspoon)
- Thaw the puff pastry sheets overnight in the refrigerator, so that the dough stays cold and the butter doesn’t melt. You can also thaw them at room temperature, but make sure that you don’t over-thaw — otherwise the dough will become sticky. If the sheets do become sticky, don’t worry. Just put them in the freezer for 5 minutes or so, till the butter hardens a little again.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 deg F.
- Combine the sugar and salt. Sprinkle half of the sugar on a wooden board and spread it out evenly.
- Place one sheet of pastry on the board and open it up. Usually they come rolled up in three layers.
- Evenly sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on the pastry sheet.
- Roll out the pastry a little (with a rolling pin or a glass bottle, if you don’t have a rolling pin), so that the sugar presses into the dough.
- Fold the pastry three times in the following way – imagine that the pastry is divided into 6 pieces. Start by folding the two outer sixths. Then, fold them again. And again.
- Slice into 1/3 inch thick slices carefully.
- Repeat the same steps with the second sheet. I only baked one sheet worth of palmiers and put the rest in the freezer for later.
- Arrange them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet such that you can see the folds.
- Bake for 6 minutes or so and then turn them with a spatula and bake for 6 more minutes until they are crispy and caramelized on both sides.
- Let them cool for a few minutes. You can now admire and eat! Don’t they look adorable? They are also called pig-ears or elephant-ears…so cute!