Back home we call them the “Butterfly Pastries 蝴蝶酥” because these adorable French pastries are shaped like a butterfly. Palmiers are a popular French pastry, with plenty of different names such as pig’s ears, palm hearts, elephant ears, etc. Call it whatever you like, Palmiers are essentially puff pastry with sugar and they make such an easy but very delicious treat. They also make a lovely edible food gift too.
Unless you’re a pastry Masterchef trying to make your own puff pastry from scratch, Palmiers couldn’t be an easier recipe to make by using ready-made puff pastry. With 4-5 ingredients only, you can create these beauties rather effortlessly. Don’t get me wrong, proper palmiers do take a lot of work and effort. It’s considered a high-end pastry after all but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little cheat recipe on hand to play around in the kitchen!
How to make Palmiers
- Ready-made Puff Pastry
- Demerara Sugar & White Sugar
Puff Pastry vs Shortcrust Pastry
Make sure you’re using puff pastry for making Palmiers instead of shortcrust pastry. Puff pastry is lighter and more flakey, whereas shortcrust pastry is denser, more crumbly and biscuit-like. As such, puff pastry is typically used for making pastries, and shortcrust pastry is more typically used for making pies due to its sturdier nature.
Leave your puff pastry at room temperature if it’s been in the fridge. If using frozen puff pastry, make sure it’s thawed before use.
You can use any type of sugar of your choice. My favourite would be using Demerara Sugar as the crystalised granules help to add a little extra crunch to the Palmiers. I also like to add a smaller ratio of white sugar in it for a nice caramelised touch.
Feel free to play around with different types of sugars and ratios to your own liking. Although please do note that different sugars may result in slightly different flavours.
Pressing the sugars into the pastry
After folding up the pastry, using either a rolling pin or your hands to gently press the pastry so that the sugars get planted more firmly with the dough. I suppose you don’t want to lift the pastry and end up with plenty of sugar spilling out!
Chilling before baking
Before slicing up the pastry into these little palmiers, wrap it up with greaseproof paper or clingfilm and allow the pastry to refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes. This is to allow the fats, i.e. the butter, to firm up and allowing the gluten to relax, which help to keep the shape of the pastry during baking! If you’re baking in batches, make sure you keep the remaining batch in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.
After the palmiers are baked to golden and puffed up (20 minutes at 200C), allow them to cool down slightly for 5 minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack to completely cool down. As tempting as it might be to immediately munch onto the freshly baked palmiers, the cooling process allows the sugars to crystalise. In my opinion, they actually taste better the next day as the sugars would then really add an extra crunch to it!
- 1 sheet (320g) Ready-made Puff Pastry
- ⅓-½ cup Demerara Sugar
- 2 tbsp Butter/Margarine melted
- ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
- ⅛ cup White Sugar
- Unroll your puff pastry on a flat surface and brush with melted butter. Spread generously with a layer of demerara sugar (save a little bit for later), sprinkle with cinnamon powder, and then the white sugar.
- Fold the long side of the pastry towards the centre. Same goes for the other side so that the two long edges of the pastry meet at the middle.
- Gently press the pastry, or using a rolling pin to gently roll it so that the sugars get planted more firmly with the dough.
- Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a little more demerara sugar. Fold again by the long edge so that the dough is now one long log.
- Once again, brush with melted butter and sprinkle a little bit of demerara sugar. Flip the log and repeat on the other side.
- Using greaseproof paper or clingfilm, wrap the dough and let chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Slice up the dough, roughly an inch thick. Place onto a lined baking tray with sufficient space between each Palmier. You're most likely to have to bake in batches. When baking in batches, chill the remaining pastry dough in the fridge until ready to bake.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack to let completely cool down.
- The cooking time only includes time for baking one batch.
- If using frozen puff pastry, make sure it’s thawed before use.
- Demerara sugar helps to add a nice crunch to the Palmiers while the white sugar offers a lightly caramelised touch.
- You can use any type of sugar of your choice or play around with different ratios to your own liking. Although please do note that different sugars may result in slightly different flavours.
- When baking in batches, chill the remaining pastry dough in the fridge until ready to bake.
- In my opinion, the Palmiers actually taste better the next day as the sugars crisp up and add a really nice extra crunch to it!
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