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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Palmiers - Fine Pastry Done Quick!

I so enjoyed the giant Palmiers I picked up at A.J.'s the other day I decided to break into my hoard of puff pastry sheets and make some at home.

Using the new frozen puff pastry making Palmiers is now a breeze. If you really, really want to make your own puff pastry there is a great recipe and tutorial using the "rough pastry" technique used by most professionals. While less involved than the traditional and "proper" way to make puff pastry, it's still more time than I care to spend.

For that matter, I found the Pepperidge Farms puff pastry that I used to be nearly equal to its professionally made counterpart at the patisserie. While not quite as buttery in the raw, it still held up nicely against the professional version. Besides, the lack of butter can be remedied by simply brushing the pastry sheets with melted butter before applying the sugar mixture for the Palmiers.

Anyway, my Palmiers experiment turned out nicely and now the hard part will be not sitting down and eating them all at once!


Ingredients:

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup coarse decorators sugar (optional)
1/8 tsp. salt (Kosher works best.)

Thaw puff pastry until it is workable. Preheat oven to 450°F. Put half of sugar/salt mixture on pastry board and spread evenly. This is not "sprinkling" sugar but making a nice even and thick layer of sugar. Place pastry sheet onto sugar and cover top with remaining sugar.

Using a rolling pin, roll the sheet out until it is about 13x13 inches. Rolling the sugar will press it into the dough and give you the necessary coating for the Palmiers.

Once rolled, fold two ends of the dough about 1/3 of the way to the center. Then fold over those two until the edges meet in the center. Then fold again like closing a book so that you end up with six layers.

Using a very sharp knife cut the dough into 3/8" (approximate) slices using a sawing motion so that you do not flatten the dough. Place slices cut side up on a cookie sheet covered with a silpat or parchment paper.

Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 6 minutes to caramelize the sugar. Then using a spatula turn the Palmiers over and put back in over another 5 minutes or until the sugar is nicely carmelized in top.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

As you can see these are really easy to do using the frozen pastry sheets and this little shortcut lends itself to some wonderful variations using brown sugar, cinnamon, or other spices. I could even see this as a savory appetizer using spinach and cheese or even a pesto sauce.

So, go get you some frozen puff pastry and have fun playing!






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