Palmiers – Sweet and Savoury

This week the coeliacs unfortunately got shafted, because I had shop-bought puff pastry in the freezer begging to be used. Making GF puff pastry from scratch will probably never appear on these pages …

So many flavour combinations to try; here are 1 sweet and 1 savoury suggestion, but more choices are in the Flavour Options footnotes.

Makes: up to 6 dozen depending on size (see Sizing footnote)


Ingredients

Sweet Palmiers

  • 1 small egg (35-50g when weighed in the shell), beaten
  • 375g packet of cold puff pastry (if frozen, defrost but keep chilled after defrosting); 1/2 only
  • Plain flour, for dusting/rolling
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, very finely chopped (measure after chopping)
  • 3 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon, for garnish
  • Pinch of demerara sugar, for garnish (optional)
  • Dusting of icing sugar, for garnish (optional)

Savoury Palmiers

  • 1/2 of a 375g packet of cold puff pastry (see Sweet Ingredients)
  • Plain flour, for dusting/rolling
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground sumac (see Sumac footnote)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • Beaten egg (see Sweet Ingredients)
  • Pinch of ground sumac, for garnish

Kit

  • 2 baking trays
  • Baking/parchment paper to line both trays
  • 3 bowls
  • A chopping board and sharp knife
    (or a spice/coffee grinder, or food processor, for the walnuts; and a pizza roller for cutting)
  • A rolling pin
  • A pastry brush
  • A cooling rack

Steps

  1. Line both baking trays with paper. Beat the egg in a small bowl.
  2. Take 2 small bowls, and mix in each:
    A) maple syrup, and chopped walnuts;
    B) salt, sugar, sumac, and pepper.
  3. Flour a large worksurface and a rolling pin. Roll out the puff pastry as necessary to get a 40cm (16″) square and cut into 2 even rectangles. Lay one on a prepared baking tray and put in the fridge.
  4. For the remaining rectangle, position a long side nearest you and mark the centre along the short sides. Spread the maple/walnut mixture evenly over the whole surface and sprinkle the caster sugar over. Start rolling the long side toward the centre, quite tightly. Turn it around, and roll the other long end toward the centre. Fold over at the centre (as if closing a long book), press down, and place the log on its prepared baking sheet. Swap in the fridge for the other tray.
  5. Lay out the 2nd rectangle on the floured counter, and sprinkle over the salt/sugar/sumac/pepper quite evenly. Scatter over the thyme, then roll up as per Step 4. Place this log back on its baking sheet and put back into the fridge with the 1st until the oven is hot.
  6. Preheat oven to 200 C (180 C fan assisted).
  7. Remove each tray from the fridge. Using a sharp knife or a pizza roller, slice each log into about 1/2″ biscuits (wipe the knife clean between cuts as necessary), and place on the trays 6x6 with room to spread. Brush some beaten egg over each.
  8. Bake for 9 minutes. Turn over each palmier; brush the other side with the remaining egg, and sprinkle cinnamon over the sweet slices, and sumac over the savoury. Turn the trays for even baking, and bake another 9-12 minutes until they’ve become golden brown and puffed up. Remove the trays from the oven; flip over each palmier, and let cool 5 minutes before removing the biscuits to a cooling rack.

Sumac
I found this North African/Middle Eastern citrussy spice in a small-town Asda in the ‘International’ aisle so it should be easy for you to find. If you can’t source it, don’t sweat it. You could use 1 tsp paprika or chilli powder as alternatives. I’d add the finely grated zest of 1/2 an unwaxed lemon if doing this.

Sizing
Cutting a standard 375g packet of puff pastry in half results in the perfect canapé-sized biscuits. However, you could leave the pastry whole and use only 1 filling; the resulting biscuits will be much larger (30 or so in total). Lay these no more than 4x5 on each baking sheet to allow for spreading.

Other Flavour Options
Sweet:
Palmiers are normally quite sugary, often with cinnamon or nutmeg, and served as a sweet treat. Nuts are optional, but add a nice taste and crunch; try flaked almonds, crushed pecans, chopped macadamia nuts, etc. You could also use the jam or marmalade of your choice to spread for the filling.
Sprinkle with demerara sugar before baking the slices and/or dust with icing sugar before serving to enhance the sweetness. A sprinkle of finely-grated citrus zest will always be welcomed at the ‘flip-over’ point.
The sweet versions make excellent accompaniments for dessert (with a mousse or ice cream), or just with a cuppa.

Savoury:
Researching this recipe, I found plenty of savoury options – sundried tomato & rosemary; anchovy & parmesan; smoked salmon & poppy seeds; goat’s cheese & sweet peppers; and more. You could use any herbs/cheese/olives/tomato/other additions that take your fancy – just remember to chop larger items finely as chunks make slicing the palmier logs quite tricky, and make the finished palmiers look messy.
The easiest savoury palmiers just use shop-bought cooking pastes in a jar – Indian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, etc; 1 heaped tsp mixed with 1 heaped tablespoon of soured cream / creme fraiche / thick yoghurt will be enough for 1/2 a standard 375g packet of puff pastry.
The savoury versions make excellent canapés.

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