If there’s one easy recipe that you should have under your belt for a little something to serve with drinks, this is it. Back when I was catering these palmiers were a staple in my lineup of hors d’oeuvres. They’re made using frozen puff pastry and after assembling them you can either bake them right then or pop into the freezer for future use. I think they actually hold together better if they’re first frozen.
The recipe comes from Betty Rosbottom’s book First Impressions which is full of interesting appetizer ideas that even the novice cook can throw together. The combination of sun dried tomatoes, olives, fennel seed and parmesan cheese is indeed a taste of Provence. You can vary the filling using your favorite ingredients-the cookbook also includes recipes for herbed cheese and prosciutto palmiers and a variation with mushroom and leek with cream cheese. I’ve yet to try them but now that I’m looking at the cookbook again I think I should definitely give them a go.
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil) drained and finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1-1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
1-package frozen puff pastry (containing 2 sheets), defrosted
Combine the olives, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, thyme, fennel seeds and 1/2 cup of the cheese in a mixing bowl and stir to mix.
Lightly flour a work surface and place 1 piece puff pastry sheet on it. Sprinkle the sheet evenly with 1 tablespoon parmesan and press the cheese in with a rolling pin. Turn the pastry over and repeat with another tablespoon cheese.
Spread half of the olive filling evenly over the pastry sheet. Cover the filling with a sheet of waxed paper and press the filling evenly into the pastry with a rolling pin.
Starting with one of the longer sides, roll up the pastry tightly like a jelly roll, stopping at the center of the pastry sheet. Repeat with the other side so that there are 2 rolls that meet in the center.
Repeat with the second pastry sheet. The rolls can be prepared ahead and wrapped individually in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 2 days. They can also be frozen (wrap plastic wrapped rolls in foil). Defrost for 24 hours before baking.
Using a sharp knife cut 1/2″ slices from the rolls. Place the rolls on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If they’ve been frozen you won’t need to do this step.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Sprinkle each palmier with about 1/4 teaspoon of parmesan. Bake about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, turn the palmiers over and sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon cheese. Return to oven and bake until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes more. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Yield: about 50 pinwheels
Serve warm or at room temperature.