I love caramel! I love the flavor of caramelized sugar and a nice chewy texture.
I recently been blogging about overcoming my fear of puff pastry, so I decided to graduate from making simple turnovers to making "Palmiers" (otherwise known as Elephant Ears). What are Palmiers?
Also called palm leaves , this crispy delicacy is PUFF PASTRY dough that is sprinkled with granulated sugar, folded and rolled several times, then cut into thin strips. After baking, these golden brown, caramelized pastries are served with coffee or tea or as a dessert accompaniment.
© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.
I try to make as many recipes as I can "from scratch" but I admit that puff pastry is far too complicated for me to attempt making-- too much folding and making sure to keep the butter nice and cold. Thank you, Pepperidge Farm, for being reasonably priced and making this step one that I don't have to worry about. Trader Joe's sells a great puff pastry, but only at Christmas. Whole Foods does, too, but it's a bit pricey. 'Nuff said.
I'm a very visual person, so I decided to pay YouTube.com a visit. Sure enough, there were plenty of folks willing to show how to make palmiers and how to fold them. I searched around for a few recipes (by the way, Palmiers can also be made savory). I rolled up my sleeves and decided to give this a go-- my virgin attempt at making Palmiers.
You will need: Puffy pastry, parchment paper (I have a Silpat but I'll explain, later, why I'm glad I chose parchment), a baking sheet, a rolling pin, and sugar. I was trying to use up leftover seedless raspberry jam (because I made homemade raspberry jam and I need refrigerator space), so I decided to add this as well.
If I plan to use puff pastry in advance, I thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Today, this recipe was a total "whim" so I did a quick thaw.
I removed one sheet of puff pastry (Pepperide Farm comes in two's). I set the puff pastry on top of my parchment paper-- a trick I learned the hard way. You see, frozen puff pastry will thaw in about 30 minutes (unless you live in Siberia and it's winter). Once, I thawed the pastry on my cutting board and it was hard to handle. After about 5 minutes of thawing, I carefully unfolded the puff pastry. Don't worry about lines or if it's torn. Thawed pastry repairs very easily.
I have a tile counter (how I dream of a granite counter), so I used a marble pastry board. Sprinkle the board, generously, with sugar. How much? I don't measure... about this much.
Now, lift the parchment paper with the thawed pastry and flip it onto the sugared pastry board (or your counter). I use a bench scraper to shape the dough after the first roll, and I repair any cracks.
Now, sprinkle more sugar on top, and gently roll in order to press the sugar into the pastry. You also want to roll the dough to be thinner. I apologize, I can't give you a specific measurement of thinness. Just a bit, if that makes sense.
I used about 1/4 cup of seedless raspberry jam (you can skip this, if you want)...
...and spread the jam, leaving at least a 2- inch border. I figured that by the time I folded the dough, and pressed it some more, it would really spread.
Now, it's time to fold. Each side is rolled in about 1-1/2 inches. Eyeball it. I added a little more sugar and used the rolling pin to flatten it-- this was tricky, because of the jam.
Once more, I rolled each side in, until they met. Roll it flat again. Last, the two ends meet and are rolled one on top of another, then flatted with the rolling pin.
The jam oozed out of one end. Hmmmm, maybe a little less jam next time, but I'm not quitting now! Into the freezer, the first batch went, for 15 minutes. In the meantime, I put the second batch into the fridge. Both techniques worked fine, by the way. Remove from the fridge/freezer and...
...with a sharp knife, cut the dough in uniform sizes-- eyeball it. I'm guessing 3/8-in sizes. The first few slices didn't have jam in them, but that's okay. It gave me a chance to see if I like them better plain or with jam. Each sheet of puff pastry should yield 18 slices.
At first, a video showed that I should brush each piece with a little water and then dip into sugar.I decided that I could skip that, only because the jam was sticky enough. It worked like a charm.
As you can see, I set these on parchment paper. I was forewarned, by one recipe, that the puff pastry has a tendency to unfold, so to be sure to really press the dough together. I tried to figure it out... so we shall see what happens. I decided to experiment, since some recipes say to chill these between 15-30 minutes. The first set of cookies (12 of them) went into the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, I popped them into a 375F degree oven, on the middle rack. The "secret" to puff pastry are all the multiple layers of butter that expands when baked.
NOTE: At this point, you can freeze the palmiers to bake at a later time.
These smell out of this world! My husband walked into the house, sniffing and commenting that I was making something really good.
These are pretty! Some of them did, indeed, unfold a bit. C'est la vie.
Take note of all that caramelized sugar! Parchment paper is my friend, on this occassion. The one on the right reminds me of a mushroom.
I flipped some over and look at that beautiful caramelized sugar! I could hardly wait to try one, but they are very hot. Be careful!
Oh yeah, look at that caramelize sugar! I dare you to not eat one!
Onto a cooling rack...
Eaten warm, they are crunchy, chewy and incredibly good. A nice cup of tea would go well with these, for sure. Cooled, they are equally good.
You can do many variations-- cinnamon sugar, pumpkin spice, vanilla sugar-- have fun with this!
Baked with love,