Palmiers – French Cookies is a simple recipe. Palmiers have other names too, such as ‘pigs’ ears’ or ‘elephant ears’ due to the shape. They are an all-time favourite of mine. Since I first ate one in Prague airport I always look out for them. A crisp, flaky and sweet pastry. What could be nicer?
Puff pastry and sugar are the only ingredients in Palmiers. Sugar coats the pastry several times. During baking, the pastry rises as the sugar caramelises to leave a sweet, buttery, and flaky cookie.
Of course, puff pastry comes in many guises, but a good quality version will work for palmiers. There is the classic puff pastry. That is where butter is enclosed in dough and folded multiple times to create lamination. Inverse puff pastry is another version. For that the dough is enclosed in a butter paste before folding. Rough Puff is a third version, which works well but does not rise quite so much in baking.
All of those can be made at home. But, of course, puff pastry can be bought in supermarkets too. However, in my opinion, the only shop-bought puff pastry worth buying is labelled ‘all butter’. That means the fat used for the pastry will be butter, rather than the commonly used hydrogenated oils.
As for this recipe, you can see in the video that I use inverse puff pastry. My previous video shows how to make it. However, I do explain in the video that shop-bought, all-butter puff pastry can be used instead. In that instance, two sheets of puff pastry are required.
Simply roll out a block of puff pastry into a long rectangle. Cover the pastry with sugar and press it down. In the case of shop-bought, sandwich two sheets together with sugar in the middle and roll that into a rectangle. Then create a simple fold by folding down the top one-third of the pastry down onto the middle third. Fold the bottom third over that. Each fold should be given a covering of sugar too. As you add sugar, pat it or press it onto the dough.
Once the simple fold is complete, turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out into a long rectangle again. Although I specify 50cm x 30 cm (20 in x 12), the size can vary, particularly if using shop-bought puff pastry sheets. Add more sugar all over the surface and press it down.
Some recipes include flavourings in the sugar. However I don’t believe that is necessary.
Then it is time to begin folding to create the required shape. Identify the halfway point in the rectangle. Then fold one-third of the top half onto the next third and then fold it over again. Do the same with the bottom half. Then fold the two halves together. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. Then cut slices, about 1.25cm (1/2 inch) slices. Place the slices cut side up, on baking trays, leaving a large gap between each. Open the slices to create ‘V’ shapes.
Bake the palmiers in the oven at 180C/160C Fan/350F for about 20 minutes. Then turn them over and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until they have fully caramelised. As they caramelise, watch them closely to avoid over baking. How much sugar to use is a matter of personal choice. I specify 200g (1 cup) in the recipe, but only used about 100g or so.
My palmiers spread very well and formed the lovely palm leaf shape. They were in the oven for 30 minutes, with a turn after 20. By which time the caramelisation was just right. I let them cool completely on a wire rack. They were then lovely and crisp. The palmiers tasted so good and had a wonderful flaky and tender crunch. Indeed, for me, they were perfect.
Another lovely recipe using puff pastry is Apple Turnovers.
Palmiers – French CookiesCourse: Biscuits, Cookies, PastriesCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
500g(1.1 lb) puff pastry – see note below
200g(1 cup) caster sugar
- Sprinkle sugar over the work surface and place the block of pastry onto it.
- Roll out the pastry to a rectangle about 50cm(20 inches) by 20cm(8 inches).
- Sprinkle sugar over the surface and fold the top one third of the pastry down onto the middle third.
- Sprinkle sugar on that and fold the bottom third onto it too. If using two sheets of shop bought pastry, with sugar in the middle, fold that into the same shape covering each fold with sugar too.
- Turn the pastry 90 degrees onto a sugared surface.
- Sprinkle more sugar over the top and roll out to 50cm(20 inches) x 30cm(12 inches).
- Keep the edges as straight as possible, trimming if necessary.
- Fold the top 8cm(just over 3 inches) onto the next 8cm. Cover the fold with sugar.
- Fold that over again, so the top half has now almost reached the middle. Cover the fold with sugar.
- Fold the bottom 8cm over the next 8cm, and cover it with sugar.
- Fold it over again, covering with sugar too, so that the bottom half has almost reached the centre.
- Now fold both top and bottom halves together into a 30cm x 8 cm log. Coat it all over with sugar and press down to attach the sugar.
- Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Line 2 or 3 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Slice the pastry into 1.25 cm(1/2 inch) strips.
- Lay each strip, cut side up, on the baking trays, leaving a large gap between each.
- Open the top of each strip to create a ‘V’ shape.
- Chill the dough as you preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
- Bake the palmiers for 20 minutes, then turn them over and return them to the oven.
- Bake them for a further 10 minutes, or until they have fully caramelised.
- Transfer the palmiers to a wire rack to cool completely.
- If using shop bought puff pastry, you need two sheets. Cover one sheet with sugar and then place the second sheet on the top of that.