Palmiers for coffee-time – baking doesn’t come easier than this
I’m the first to admit that I am guided throughout the day by sugary treats and a healthy dose of caffeine. In the mornings I look forward to 11am, around which time I make a fresh frothy cappuccino in a vintage cup with a little treat on the side. In the afternoon meanwhile I long for my earl grey tea with a little cake, and a cleansing green tea a little later. In the evenings I go for my favourite: a fresh mint tea, or jasmine, the smell of Spanish summer, and try to resist something a little naughtier on the side.
Ok, weight-watchers this isn’t, but a giver of easy baking tips – I’m your man. The other day, I bought a roll of puff pastry from the supermarket intending to make some crayfish puff pastry treats but then couldn’t get the crayfish or anything remotely similar. So the puff pastry was sitting in the fridge and I suddenly thought to myself – hmm I should make palmiers.
Palmiers get their name from the humble palm leaf (which, somehow, they are meant to resemble) – other people call them elephant ears (probably more accurate). In Spain we call them palmeras, were they are a staple of most patisseries and cafes either glaceada (with icing) or con chocolate. Either way, they are a delicious treat and seductively simple to make.
Simply take some shop-bought buff pastry (no point in making this from scratch – hours of labour will commence for the same results) and in a cup mix up about 100g caster sugar and a heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Roll out your puff pastry if it’s not rolled out already, and sprinkle generously with some of the sugar mix all over. Then fold over, roll out again, and sprinkle with some more sugar. Do this a few times until the sugar is sort of combined (it doesn’t really combine into the pastry all that well, but not to worry – you’ll sprinkle more on at the end). Then roll your pastry into a large rectangle around 12-14 inches in length and 10 inches in width.
To get the palmier shape, role the pastry along the longest side until it reaches the middle of the rectangle and stop. Then do the same with the other side, rolling into the middle until the two halves meet. Place the result in the freezer for about 10 minutes so the pastry can firm up a bit for cutting. Take the pastry out and cut into slices about half an inch thick and lay them on their side (i.e. curly pattern face up) on a baking tray, leaving a little space around each for puffing. Sprinkle them all with a little more sugar (though not too much as I went a bit mad and mine turned out uber-sugary) and bake in an oven at around 200 degrees celsius for around 10-15 minutes until they are puffed up and golden and the sugar has melted on top.
And that’s it! Leave a few minutes to cool down and you have the perfect coffee-morning treat.
PS: I should add, if you don’t like cinnamon, just leave it out. You can also make these without sugar, and dip them in chocolate at the end. You can also make savoury versions by rolling cheese into the puff pastry and then using them as bases for canapes. The world is your oyster.