I wasn’t going to publish this post because I wasn’t happy with the way the photos turned out. That happens more often than I like when I’m in a hurry and don’t have the time to fuss with the lighting. Winter days here in the Pacific Northwest can be gloomy and my dining room where I take my photos doesn’t get the best light even in midday. But…what the heck…here it is. If you click on the above picture you can better see how the nuts form a sugary crust on the pastry.
Purchased puff pastry is on the short list of essential staples in my kitchen. I’ve never tried to make it from scratch because several inexpensive brands are available in the grocery store and I can imagine how time consuming it can be to make the buttery, flaky dough from start to finish…one of these days I may tackle it…but not today. I love it for its versatility, how easy it is to work with and for the endless number of ways it can be used. I needed a little cookie to serve with ice cream and decided on PALMIERS, a classic French pastry that is rolled in sugar…lots of sugar…and baked in the oven until the edges caramelize and the pastry dough becomes light and flaky. I wrote a post about PALMIERS several years ago and described the experience this way. “Palmiers are light-as-air, buttery, flaky, caramely, French pastries that are so good you will amaze yourself that you are able to make them. The truly amazing part of all this is that you need only two ingredients to produce these beautiful creations. There are many internet sites that give similar instructions, and, after making several recipes using slightly different techniques, I came up with what I think is fantastic, delicious, impressive, and a complete winner.” I carry a number of hazelnut products in my web store and got the idea as I was getting ready to make my old favorite palmiers that it might be delicious if I added some TOASTED HAZELNUT MEAL to the sugar that I was about to roll the sheets of pastry in. If you would like to try my new version of palmiers just go to my EARLIER POST, add 1/4 cup hazelnut meal to each cup of sugar you use to roll out your pastry dough. Keep patting the sugar/nut mixture into the dough at each step. After you have rolled and sliced the palmiers give the slices a light roll with a rolling pin into more sugar. You may cringe at the amount of sugar used but the baked palmiers really don’t taste that sweet. The roasted hazelnuts caramelize with the sugar into a nutty, crusty edge on the spirals…so delicious.
The sugar/nut coating on the PALMIERS in the above photos masks the delicate layers of pastry you find in traditional PALMIERS. The cookies in the lower photo are made with just sugar. In the above photos I used Pepperidge Farm puffed pastry dough…good quality and what I use on a regular basis. In the photo below I used DUFOUR CLASSIC PUFF PASTRY. The difference between these two products is that Pepperidge Farm pastry is made with vegetable oil and Dufour is made with butter. Dufour is approximately four times as expensive as Pepperidge Farm and is available at Whole Foods…and, I might add, worth every penny of the difference in cost. If you would like to know more about DUFOUR CLASSIC PUFF PASTRY click HERE to get to go to their web site for information about their products and recipes.
You can find pastries similar to PALMIERS in many American bakeries, but it wasn’t until I purchased one at Laduree in Paris that I truly appreciated how amazing the French version is. Laduree’s are the size of salad plates and are made of hundreds of layers of buttery dough. And they are caramelized to perfection. I don’t have a picture to share with you but will be sure to get one when I go to Paris in May. I love their macarons and always manage to consume a box or two during my stay, but to be very honest Laduree’s palmiers and kouglofs (truly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten) are my first choices.
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm