I know I’ve bombarded you with a bunch of somewhat complicated recipes lately and I apologize for that. I told you I’d try to make your life more simple. Apparently I’m a bit of a liar. So with that said, I am here to seek redemption and forgiveness. In exchange, I will share with you the easiest party recipe ever. You will look like the kitchen god that you are. And you won’t even break a sweat.
This uses a total of THREE ingredients and is truly one of the most simple things you’ll ever make in your kitchen. I’ve been known to throw this together when we decide, at the last possible moment, to hit a party down the street. With about an hour’s notice you can have this ready to walk out the door. It does involve one ingredient that you should have in your refrigerator or freezer, especially during the holidays. Frozen puff pastry sheets are great not only for this recipe, but also for putting a quick crust over a stew you made and calling it “pot pie” (even though you and I both know you are just re-purposing your leftovers).
I’ve chosen to do cheddar and cracked black pepper here but you could use any filling you like. I’ve tried this with asiago and pepperoni, bacon and swiss, and parmesan and fresh herbs (and I just had an epiphany of caramelized onions and gruyere). You can also make these with sweet things like coarse sugar and chocolate chips. Use what you have on hand but this is really my favorite combination and is stuff that we ALWAYS have at our house.
One thing I would recommend that you keep on hand for this and numerous other recipes is parchment paper. You could use a silicone mat if you have one but I just prefer parchment. I use parchment at least weekly for making cookies, reheating pizza, making cheese toast, whatever. I’ve just started buying the industrial box at the club-store and it lasts for months.
Most palmiers are rolled from each end into a palm (duh!) or elephant ear shape. But you don’t have to do that. Just roll ’em up, slice and go if you like. No need to get all precious here. Call them pinwheels if you like but it’s the same concept. I do think the palm shape looks prettier but it’s totally up to you.
When making these, keep in mind that you may have to do them in batches as the pastry warms up as you work with it. If so, just keep pastry in the fridge in between so it doesn’t get too soft. This particular time took three batches.
Cheddar Pepper Palmiers
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed in fridge (overnight if possible or follow thawing instructions on box)
- 1 C sharp cheddar cheese
- Coarse, cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 400
Unroll one sheet of thawed puff pastry on your work surface and GENTLY roll with your rolling pin until it is about a 10 inch square. Cover with 1/2 of the cheese and cracked black pepper. Roll gently with the rolling pin to press them into the dough a bit. To roll into pinwheels, starting at edge closest to you, roll into a log. Wrap log in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. To make palmier shape (frankly easier), fold right edge almost to middle of pastry then fold the left edge almost to the middle. Then fold the two sides together. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 15 minutes. Keep other sheet in refrigerator until you are ready to work with it. Then repeat the filling process with second sheet.
Put pastry log back on work surface and cut with sharp knife into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place slices on parchment lined baking sheet with a couple of inches between each one as they will puff quite a bit during baking. If there isn’t room on your sheet pan, put the palmiers or logs (covered with plastic) back in the refrigerator until ready to bake). Bake for about 10 minutes, until underside is nice and golden. Turn them and continue to bake for 5-7 minutes until second side is golden. Remove to rack to cool and then serve. Simple and delicious.
Makes about 36 pastries.