July 28, 2014
Amuse-Bouche
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palmier de parmesan
(parmesan palmiers)
Pity the poor palmier! It’s an orphan. No one claims to be its mother or father. No one stands up and says: “I made the first palmier.” Many sources claim that it came about early in the twentieth century, but none give a traceable reference. The earliest mention I can find in my books is in the 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomique.
PALMIER (Pâtisserie). — Ce petit gâteau, qui est une des spécialités de la pâtisserie parisienne, se prépare ainsi :
Prendre de la pâte feuilletée à laquelle on aura donné 3 tours. Donner les trois autres tours à cette pâte, en la tournant sur la table saupoudrée de sucre glace en place de farine.
Abaisser ce feuilletage à l’épaisseur d’un centimètre. Sur cette abaisse détailler des bandes larges de 30 centimètres.
Ramener les deux côtés de ces bandes de pâte sur le centre et les doubler en deux sur la longueur.
Laisser reposer quelques instants ces bandes rou1ées puis les détailler transversalement en morceaux de 6 millimètres d’épaisseur.
Mettre ces morceaux de pâte à plat sur une plaque en les plaçant un peu éloignés les uns des autres. Cuire au four, à bonne chaleur.
The translation in the 1964 English‑language edition is mostly accurate except that 18 inch is not equal to 1 centimeter. One centimeter is a bit over 38 inch.
PALMIER (Pastry) — This small pastry, a Paris speciality, is prepared in the following manner:
Take some puff pastry which has had three turns. Give it another three turns on a table sprinkled with icing sugar instead of flour.
Roll out to a thickness of 18 inch and cut into strips 12 inches wide.
Bring the two ends of these strips together towards the centre and fold in two, lengthways.
Leave these strips to settle for a few moments, then cut them across into pieces 14 inch thick.
Put these pieces of pastry flat on a baking sheet, placing them at a little distance from each other. Bake in a hot oven (400°F.).
Additionally, the original French version has two pictures to aid in the cookie preparation.
Note the inset in the second picture showing the “leaves” of the palmier bent outward before cooking. I’ve never seen this before.
If one has a twisted mind like mine, one could ask: “How would I turn a palmier from a sweet into a savory item?” And I did ask myself that.
A quick look on the Internet for savory palmiers produced a list of recipes that seemed to get increasingly complicated with lots of ingredients, which is not my style. So I went back to basics. To go from sweet to savory, I needed to replace the sugar with something like a herb, a spice, or maybe cheese. The cheese would need to be similar in size and shape to the sugar, and one that would not melt too readily. The cheap, grated Parmesan cheese I buy in a tub is a possibility. It’s not real Parmigiano‑Reggiano, but it should work (and it did).
1 piece, 13 x 13 cm (5 x 5 in)
puff pastry
grated, hard parmesan cheese
1. Sprinkle the cheese on both slides of the dough, making an even coating. Gently push the cheese into the dough with a rolling pin while lengthening the dough to 20 cm (8 in). As you roll, add more cheese.
2. Using a spray bottle, spritz a little water on the top side of the dough. Fold the short ends into the middle leaving an 8‑mm (516‑in) gap at the center. Gently push the two layers together with your rolling pin and spritz the newly folded part. One more time, fold the same edges as before towards the center. Press gently with the rolling pin and spritz. Finally, fold one the folded sides onto the other side and press.
3. Wrap the folded dough very tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate thoroughly until the dough is hard.
4. Cut the chilled dough into 9‑mm (38‑in) thick slices. Remove the plastic wrap and freeze the slices.
5. Preheat oven to 180 °C (355 °F). Thaw frozen palmiers in the refrigerator.
6. Arrange the frozen, sliced dough on a baking sheet lined with a silicone rubber liner. Leave lots of space between the pieces. Bake until golden and expanded, about 15 minutes.
7. Serve warm.
Yield: 12 pieces.

© 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.