Crisp, buttery, light as a pillow... these little beauties are to die for. I first tasted them in Madrid, where no bakery is ever without a stack of palmiers (French for ‘palm tree’) in the window, and took to buying one on my way into uni there every morning. When I left - several palmier-sized inches wider - I started baking them myself. First thing on a Saturday morning, they'll fill your kitchen with delicious, cinnamon-scented air.
These ones are far smaller than the originals, but I reckon the bite-sized ones are even better (plus you can eat more, totally guilt-free). I fill mine with cinnamon sugar, but you can try other spices - za'atar, cumin or paprika - fruity jams, nut butters, or stuff them with all sorts of savoury delights.
[PHOTOGRAPHY: AL RICHARDSON]
Makes approx 28 palmiers
1 x 215g ready-rolled frozen puff pastry
50g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Leave the pastry out of the freezer for several hours so it is soft and pliable.
Unroll one roll (packs generally contain two) on its paper and flatten it slightly with a rolling pin so it is a neat rectangle.
In a bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly across the pastry so it coats the surface.
Starting at one of the two longer sides, and using the paper for grip, slowly roll the edge in towards the centre of the pastry rectangle, stopping when you get to the middle.
Do the same on the other side, so the two rolls meet in the middle. The resulting shape should look like half a butterfly’s wing.
Wrap the whole roll gently in the paper and place flat in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. This will help the palmiers hold their shape.
Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan).
Remove the pastry from the freezer and, using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1cm slices. If the knife sticks, dampen it under the tap to make the cut cleaner.
Arrange these flat on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, around 5cm apart. You will probably need two, as the pastries expand during baking.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is flaky and golden. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle any leftover cinnamon sugar over the top and eat them hot.
Try making savoury palmiers filled with tapenade and sundried tomatoes or chopped herbs and soft cream cheese – around 50g each.
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