Palmiers, Savory or Sweet Apéritifs or Nibbles
Saturday October 1, 2022

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The first episode I taped for this new season was for a favorite aperitif nibble that always delights guests. Made and enjoyed as the welcome course for a dinner party, nibbles for before dinner treat paired with wine, the savory palmier appears complex due to its many layers of pastry, but is actually quite simple.

The sweet palmiers were my first introduction to this delightful French classic, and as I began to play with the recipe to alternate from sweet to savory, I realized the key, as with so many recipes, is the quality of ingredients we use. Beginning with high quality butter (unsalted), and for the savory, gruyére as well as Dijon mustard, with very few ingredients you will create a melt-in-your-mouth palmier that will leave you and your guests smiling with inhibition as I am above.

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Sweet (left) and Savory (right) Palmiers

Join me in the kitchen today to find out how you too can make savory and sweet palmiers, as well as make them ahead to have them readily on hand when you don’t have time to bake, but was to share something delicious from your kitchen.

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The moment when the delicate buttery flakiness is about to be enjoyed. 🙂

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Enjoy a hot cuppa with a sweet palmier and a glass of something bubbly or a lovely glass of wine with a savory palmier.

Now to the video to discover how this simple French treat can be in your baking repertoire and have you creating delicate, scrumptious deliciousness in no time.

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Links shared during the episode:


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Sweet and Savory Palmiers

Simply Luxurious
In French, palmier translates into palm due to their resemblance to a palm frond. They are also called elephant ears or butterfly wings. And the fact that they resemble a heart is a lovely aesthetic detail as well. Enjoy this simple, but decadently delicious sweet French treat.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 32 mins
Servings 20

Ingredients
  

Puff Pastry

  • 9 ounces unsalted butter cold/chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups flour unbleached, all-purpose
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water more or less depending upon humidity in your kitchen/environment
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Palmiers (sweet or savory)

  • 1 recipe puff pastry (see above); note – puff pastry can be made 4-6 weeks in advance and kept in the freezer
  • 1 cup sugar (sweet) or savory filling Savory filling options: Comté or Gruyère cheese and Dijon are my choices

Instructions
 

Puff Pastry

  • Add the flour, called butter and salt to the food processor. Pulse and combine until you see what looks similar to rough grains of sand.
  • With the mixer or food processor on low, slowly add the water-vinegar mixture, drizzling it in at different points around the bowl. In about 10 seconds, the dough will begin to come together in large chunks and feel slightly moist, but it will not look smooth or finished. Turn the dough and any dry bits at the bottom onto a work surface that has been dusted with flour (I used a pastry frame which is much less sticky and allows for easy clean-up – shop “kitchen” in TSLL Shop to find the one I recommend).
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  • Shape the dough into a rough rectangle about 6 by 8 inches and about 1-1/2 inches thick. Dust the top with flour and roll the dough into a 10 by 16 inch rectangle. Brush any flour from the surface of the dough.
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  • Make a letter fold (3 total layers after folding – see my example below). Brush off any excess flour as you fold. It will look shaggy – this is completely acceptable and expected. Roll your pin across the top of the dough briefly and gently one or two times, just to fuse the dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. OPTIONAL – for even more layers, but not necessary if you need to save time – After the first 30 minutes, take out and roll out again to 14 x 16 inches and make the letter fold. Place back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.)
    *You can do this entire process ahead of time and keep the dough in the fridge up to 48 hours.
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Palmiers

  • Generously dust your work surface with sugar. Place the dough in the center and sprinkle the top with one cup sugar (if making savory palmiers, add the savory ingredient just before you fold into the heart shape), covering it completely. Roll into a 16 by 10-inch rectangle, using additional sugar as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the surface.
  • Make a book fold (four layers). Using a ruler and the back of a knife, mark a line dividing the dough in half length-wise, each half measuring 8 x 10 inches. Using the ruler and knife again, mark each half into quarters. Fold the two short edges to the quarter mark and fold over again until you are 1/4 of an inch away from the center (do this on both sides). Tighten each side to leave 1/4 inch space down the center of the dough. Fold one side on top of the other, forming a 10-inch long cylinder. If you look at the end of the cylinder, you’ll see the shape of a heart. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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  • Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and position an over rack in the center. Place the remaining sugar in a small mixing bowl. Trim the ends of the cylinder if they are uneven or cracked, then cut twelve 1/4-inch thick slices from the chilled cylinder, dip each side in sugar, and place two inches apart on the baking sheet. (Any left over dough that is not going into the oven, rewrap and return to the refrigerator.)
  • Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes, or until golden at the edges. With a spatula, flip each cookie over. Return to the over and bake for 9-12 minutes longer, until they are a beautiful golden brown (or bake for a total of 20 minutes, checking at 10 minutes, but with no need to flip – they will still look and taste delicious). Transfer to a rack and cool completely.
  • OPTIONAL: Freeze any of the palmier dough and book folds before slicing if you don't need to bake them all at this time. I wrap mine in plastic wrap, label – savory or sweet), and place in the freezer for up to 6 months. When I know I will be baking them, I take them out 4-8 hours ahead of time by placing in the refrigerator (not leaving them on the counter as you want the dough to be chilled so that it puffs!). Then follow the instructions for baking as shared above. If you don't have any time to defrost in the refrigerator, slice gently (some pieces may fall apart – that is okay as they will bake back to together), then top with the cheese or sugar before placing in the oven for two-three additional minutes beyond 20 minutes.

~View more episodes of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen here.

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7 thoughts on “Palmiers, Savory or Sweet Apéritifs or Nibbles

  1. LOVE palmiers, the sweet ones were my favorite ‘after-school’ snack in boarding school. And oh my goodness, those savory moutarde et fromage ones look absolutely scrumptious, those will definitely add an elegant twist to our fall Happy Hours! Thank you, Shannon!🥂

    1. Rona,

      What a delicious school-time memory! ☺️ Yes, my introduction to palmiers was the sweet as well, in a cooking class and in the recipe it shared we could also make savory. I gave it a try at home one time, and have been a fan of the savory ever since! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience with these delightfully delicious French treats.

  2. Thank you, Shannon! I love palmiers. Here in Germany they are called Schweinchenohren, literally Pig’s Ears. For some reason, nothing to do with elephants… 😉 Anyway they are pretty much available in every bakery shop (the palmiers, not the elephants…), the sweet version of them, and rather large in size (which could go into the elephant direction, you see…). In my country, they are, I am afraid, similar in size and sweetness – not a little elegant nibble, no, Ma’m, indeed Portuguese people have a “large” sweet tooth ;-). We call them palmiers, though, like our French cousins. I am an untypical Portuguese because I do not have a sweet thooth, but, like Rona, I have good memories of palmiers as a treat at tea time in high school. Ah, sixteen…
    I tried the savory version in France and found them delightful For some reason never baked them myself, but now that “lapsus” of mine is going to be corrected shortly… 😉

    1. Isabel,

      Oh my goodness! Pigs ears! ☺️ Thank you giving us all a glimpse into the food culture in Portugal. I do hope you enjoy this savory version. And having a sweet palmier with thé sounds like a dream of a pairing. 😌 Thank you for stopping by and sharing all that you have.

  3. Shannon, I had some puff pastry leftover from an apple pie so made some savoury bits sized palmiers and they were well received. They were described as being like fancy cheese straws.

  4. Lovely ideas Shannon. I just made my version of these for a cocktail party for my son’s recent marriage. Always a hit, they provide a nice little nibble for tea or for another event that can be hand-held and “just enough” as my mother used to say. I had to smile when you mentioned that you made these for an even for your parents. I was always the caterer for my family events, and these were inspired for me by a local French bakery, now gone to history. May I suggest an idea that I find helpful. I chill my knives as well. Cutting seems to be easier with a cold knife. Thanks for your contribution to our culinary lives.

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