Friday, December 30, 2011

Savory Palmiers

"Palmier" (pal-mee-ay) is French for little palm leaf, the shape they resemble.

These may look complicated, but they are ridiculously easy to prepare. As an hors d'oeuvre, they're amazing if only because of their beautiful appearance. And the fillings are endless. For this, I chose the classic palmier: pesto/parmesan/prociutto. A bit on the salty side, but perfect with cocktails! Next time, I'll keep it simple and go with goat cheese and garlic. You don't have to be a fancy pants--Velveeta and some deli ham will work just as well.

The key to making these is to keep the puff pastry cold. As soon as it begins to warm, it becomes sticky and difficult to handle. Other than that, these are a snap to prepare. 

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 oz. jarred pesto
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 3-6 slices paper-thin slices prosciutto* (or other fine deli ham)

Mix cream cheese and pesto together. 

Lightly flour your counter and unwrap your pastry sheet. If necessary, lightly roll to form a perfect square--about 10 x 10 inches. Evenly spread with cheese/pesto mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan and carefully lay the ham slices on top:

Begin rolling at one end until you come to the middle. Then begin rolling at other end. You now have two coils joined in the middle. Squeeze/roll a bit to form a roll. At this point, wrap in cling wrap and place in freezer for about 20 minutes to firm the dough.

Preheat oven to 400 F. degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove log from freezer and with a very sharp knife, slice into about 3/8-inch slices--larger than 1/4-inch and not bigger than 1/2-inch.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden, rotating pan after first ten minutes.

Allow to cool just a bit and serve while warm and flaky.

(I debated to post this recipe because I found it overly salty. But, then, I'm not a huge fan of pesto and I should have known better with the Parm. which is very salty. And with cocktails, the saltiness may be a plus. In the final analysis, I figured this recipe was more about technique and presentation than taste.)

*I think prosciutto is over-rated and way over-priced. You could just as easily use any type of deli ham and I wish I would have.