Despair-Free Palmiers

These were a gift. You can put anything small into these crisp little delights. These have cream cheese and jalapeno — a favorite flavor for the recipient.

Sometimes we think fresh food is a nightmare time sink of darkness and despair. If you’re feeling that way, try to go out that night. It’ll show in your food. No one wants to eat your despair. But when the clouds part, try rough puff pastry, and make some of these ephemeral lovelies.

If you’re unfamiliar with them, they’re called ‘palmiers’ They are, in short, a sheet of pastry, light and crisp, spread with something you can spread thin that tastes good, then rolled up and sliced and baked so that you get these. All you need is decent flour and butter, and whatever you want for filling, and you will have these for your party. Or your family. Or you can hide them, cut, in the back of the freezer and eat them in the stillness of midnight, savoring the rich butter, crisp flakes, and warm filling of your choice, in sweet solitude. You do you, my friend.

There are a lot of recipes and demonstrations on YouTube. I’m going to include this link to Uncle Matt’s Cookery Lessons, because he has a small channel, a pleasant accent, and his palmiers are not classically shaped, but still turn out beautifully. These little bits of yum do not have to be perfect to be wonderful. If you want more classic shapes, just roll the pastry toward the center from both sides, then carry on as illustrated. But it doesn’t matter, which is lovely if you’re new to pastry.

Short instructions: Mix butter and flour as you might a pie crust or a biscuit dough, according to whatever recipe you find online. They’re all pretty much the same. Roll out the dough, then fold the big sheet into thirds, like an envelope, and roll again. Repeat until you’ve rolled it about 4 times. If it gets soft, stick it in the freezer until it is firm again, then begin the rolling process as before. Fill with anything you want. Roll. Cut. Bake. Eat.

These don’t last, partially because they are amazing, but also because they tend to lose their crispness, as does any pastry left for long. You can freeze them once they’re sliced, but wrap up tight — there’s a lot of butter here, and they will taste like freezer if you don’t. Frozen individually, you can just pop a few in the oven when you want one, fresh and hot and light. They’re a great gateway to pastry, because they are less tempramental than the real puff pastry, and more forgiving of mistakes, but still really delicious.

They look great, too, if you want to impress someone and are willing to share them. Just a thought. Enjoy!

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