Known as palmier in their native France, but as pig’s ears to the rest of us, it is easy to understand why so many across the world have fallen for these sweet, buttery treats! After all, what’s not to love? A delight on their own or dunked in coffee, these wonderfully simple pastries are hard to resist.
Even though they may look complicated, palmier are anything but, and are actually surprisingly easy to make at home. In fact, they are quite possibly the simplest pastry I’ve ever attempted! Requiring just two basic ingredients, palmier is one of the most economical sweet treats you can make: all you’ll need is a roll of store-bought puff pastry, a cup of sugar, some folding skills, and that’s it!
As with all pastries, the temperature of the dough is essential. In this instance, it must be fully defrosted, but still chilled. If it is too warm, the butter in the pastry will melt too quickly in the oven – you won’t get a crisp finish as the butter will ooze out of the pastries and burn. It is best to defrost the puff pastry in the fridge overnight so that it is ready and waiting for teatime the next day.
Personally I don’t like to use too much sugar, instead preferring to give them a quick dab of apricot jam when they are fresh out of the oven – the sweetness of the glaze is enough for me, but this is entirely down to taste. Whilst on the topic of preferences, I like my pastries to be slightly on the “burnt” side, but if that’s not your thing then just take them out of the oven a couple of minutes early. If you would like to expand on the traditional butter and sugar recipe, you can always add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the sugar.
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Palmier / Pig’s Ear Pastries (makes approx. 12)
- 1 roll of store-bought puff pastry
- 1/2 to 1 cup white granulated sugar
- A pinch of flaked sea salt
- 1 tbsp warmed smooth apricot jam
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (omit salt)
- Defrost the puff pastry overnight in the fridge, keeping it chilled until needed
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Unfurl the pastry onto a sheet of baking parchment, then give the pastry a light going over with a rolling pin – you just want to smooth it out a little, not flatten it
- If using the cinnamon, combine it with sugar
- Liberally sprinkle the sugar, and a small pitch of salt, over the pastry. Give it another light roll to embed the sugar and salt slightly. Using the parchment to assist, flip the pastry over and repeat. I use 1/4 cup of sugar per side, but if you have a sweeter tooth you can use up to 1/2 cup
- Line a large metal baking tray with the baking parchment
- Place the pastry with the long side facing towards you and visualize a horizontal line across the middle
- Fold both long sides over halfway towards the middle, then fold again so that the two sides meet at the center – it should look a bit like an open book.
- Gently fold the lower half over – as if closing a book.
- Give it a light press and return to the fridge to chill for 15 minutes
- With a sharp knife, trim off the ends then cut into 5 mm slices
- Transfer the pastries, cut-side up to the baking tray, placing 5 cm apart. Don’t overcrowd the tray – rather make two batches if there isn’t enough space.
- Separate the tops of the pastries – they should look like bunny ears!
- Bake for 12 minutes, then flip over and return to the oven for another 3 minutes.
- Place on a cooling rack and then (if using) brush over warmed jam
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.