A couple of years ago, my sister told me how easy palmiers were to bake, and that I should give it a try – without too much effort I would be able to impress my friends with my amazing baking skills.
Palmiers (the name means ‘palm tree’ in French, but these are also known as elephant ears) are made from puff pastry and sugar – nothing more – which is folded to form their distinctive shape. She left me a diagram of the folding method, which was left untouched, forgotten, until very recently when I thought these would be great for Valentine’s Day. If you fold the pastry the traditional way, they do look like little hearts after all!
I made quite a few attempts in the past few days, and sadly no hearts came out of the experiment – instead I ended up with something that looked more like little willies! Never mind, let’s embrace the palmier willies! Here’s how you make them.
- Caster sugar
- 1 block of all-butter puff pastry
- Sharp knife
- Rolling pin
- 1 or 2 baking sheets
1. Freely dust your work surface with sugar.
2. Roll out your pastry into a long rectangle, dusting with more sugar as you go along.
3. Starting with the left side, fold the pastry in towards the centre.
3. Repeat on the other side. With the folded edge on your right, roll the pastry out into a long rectangle and repeat the folding method. Roll out again.
4. Trim the edges of the rectangle.
5. Fold both ends in, so they meet in the centre.
6. Leave a little gap, and fold the pastry in half so you have four layers.
7. Roll your pin over the pastry so the folds slightly stick together.
8. Slice the pastry into strips 8mm to 1cm thick.
9. Place the strips on the baking sheet, pointy ends up, spreading the ends a little bit as shown above.
10. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 minutes, then flip the willies over and bake for around 10 minutes until the pastry has puffed up and is golden brown. Watch carefully as you might need less time – the combination of sugar and butter from the pastry caramelises, and it can quickly burn if you aren’t careful.
And here you are, willie palmiers… but if you are lucky (or unlucky, maybe?) you might have baked yourself heart-shaped palmiers, like I finally did!
Photography & Styling: Emma Scott-Child