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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Palmiers

I've been disappointed lately. It just doesn't seem like my photos have been coming out very well in the last month or so. I wish I knew if it was operator error or if - somehow - my digital camera has decided to do its own thing. Either way, the end result is a bunch of photos that I just haven't been very excited to share with you. However, my mom convinced me that you might rather deal with less than perfect photos than no photos at all.

My husband is currently a squadron commander and, as you might imagine, there are some "wifely" responsibilities that often go along with that. Recently, I hosted a luncheon at my home as part of the social club. It was a fairly casual affair, and - since I've been busy - I didn't feel the need to go all out and prepare a multi-step dessert like profiteroles or something. Nope, just something nice and easy... provided you "cheat" and use store-bought puff pastry, that is.

I love these little pastries so much! I'd be completely content if palmiers were considered their own food group. In fact, after everyone left, I had absolutely no problem eating every single remaining pastry in less than an hour (and, please, don't ask me to admit how many there were!). These things are flaky and crunchy, sweet and oh so cute.

The first step is the thaw the frozen, store-bought, puff pastry on the counter for forty minutes or as instructed on the package. Then, sprinkle the counter liberally with granulated sugar. Lay out the pastry sheet on top of the sugar. Sprinkle the top with more sugar and then gently roll across the dough to imprint the sugar slightly. There is no need to roll too much or too hard. Gently brush off the excess sugar. If you have too much sugar clinging to your palmiers when they bake, not all of the sugar will be able to melt, leaving you with grainy palmiers... which is not the intent at all!

Start rolling the pastry up across the long side until you reach the middle and then do the same on the other side so that you end up with a double "scroll" roll of dough. Trim the ends so that they are even. Don't roll too loosely or you'll end up with gaping holes in your finished pastries.

With an oiled serrated blade, gently "saw" slits along the tri-fold seams of the puff pastry. This cut will help you evenly slice the rolls and insure you don't end up with weird un"seam"ly pastries. Ha, ha.

Sorry.

Once your initial divisions are made, slice the dough, using a sawing motion, into individual pieces. The recipe I have always followed specifies that they should be cut into half-inch sections. I always seem to end up with them thicker which isn't as good. The thicker ones don't seem to bake up as lightly. It may be worth the effor to get a ruler out to be sure they aren't too thick. Even erring on the side of a little thinner might be better. Depending on how you slice them, you'll get between twelve and twenty palmiers per sheet of dough.

Lay the palmiers out on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut edge up. You can adjust their shape if need be at this point.

Bake at 425° F for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are nicely golden and the pastry can be moved without falling apart. Remove the tray from the oven and flip the pastries using a pair of tongs. Return to the oven to continue baking to brown the reverse side, perhaps another 8-10 minutes.

Continue baking the other side until it is also golden, perhaps another 8-10 minutes. Place on a cooling rack as soon as they are removed from the oven. Cool completely before serving, at least one hour so that they are fully crisped. While you can store them in an air tight container for 2-3 days, I really think they are best enjoyed on that first day. That's why I ate all those left overs so quickly.

Really. You believe me... don't you?

2 comments:

  1. I think your photos look quite appetizing. It might just be that there's so little natural light right now, between the short winter days and it being cloudy or whatever. My food photos always take a lot of digital enhancing because I have so little natural light in my apartment.

    And those palmiers look wonderful. I'm tempted to roll up cinnamon rolls this way, just for the funny shape.

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  2. I think your photos are fine, enough that I am going to my refrig to take out my puff pastry to make these for a little dessert tonight. I had one left over and didn't quite know what to do with it. Thanks for a great blog and wonder recipes and ideals.

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