I consider myself to be somewhat adept with desserts and pastries. I’ve pretty much always have been able to make a great pie crust. I made a sachertorte when I was 13. I’m very good with scones and biscuits and shortbread. But the one thing I’ve never made is puff pastry. I’ve seen others make it, and damn, it’s a lot of work, folding the butter in time and time again. So I cheat and buy frozen puff pastry sheets. Yes, I’m finally coming clean and letting the world (and my professional baking friends) that I’m a puff pastry fraud. I’m the Milli Vanilli of puff pastry.
And I don’t care one tiny bit. I love the frozen stuff — the convenience, the simplicity. I pull a box out of the freezer, let in thaw, and then go to town. Sometimes I make cheese puffs, but my “go-to” puff pastry dish is the humble palmier. The palmier (French for “palm”) is nothing but puff pastry, butter, sugar and cinnamon. It’s incredibly easy to make, especially when using the frozen puff pastry. I don’t claim to make a classic palmier, the type you find in bakeries and patisseries across the world — I’d probably need to make my own damn puff pastry for that, and you already know that’s out of the question. But I make a tasty, caramelized, crispy and flaky delight that my kids adore. And frankly, I like them, too.
So grab yourself some puff pastry from your grocer’s freezer and make a batch of palmiers. You’ll be happy, and your loved ones will think you’re a god. Just one who knows how to take shortcuts now and then.
- 1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp. cinnamon
- flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Lightly dust surface with flour and roll out a sheet of puff pastry until it’s about 18″ by 14″.
Spread half the stick of butter evenly across the pastry. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon and evenly spoon half of this mixture across the buttered pastry. With your palms, gently press the sugar into the puff pastry to help it “stick” to the butter.
Beginning at left edge, roll the dough, jelly roll style, to the center line. Repeat with the right edge. This will result in the dough having almost an eyeglasses shape.
With a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch slices of dough, and place the eyeglass-shaped slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This will be somewhat messy.
Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely on wire racks.
Makes about 4 dozen palmiers.