When I lived in Europe, I stopped through the region for a couple days here or there but it was on a trip a few years ago up the Rhone River where I really got to uncover all that the region has to offer.
As home to the food capital of Lyon, the bakeries in Arles, and the numerous cheeses and wines, there is a lot in the culinary world to celebrate in this part of France.
But one of my favorite food places in this region of France is the main market hall in Avignon known as Avignon Les Halles. All of those summery flavors that define Provence -- hello, lavender, apricots, asparagus, strawberries, tomatoes -- were everywhere I turned. But of everything I tried I really loved how many savory pastries there were. And my favorite of all were the numerous savory palmiers.
Just so we're on the same page, let's clarify exactly what it is we're talking about, shall we?
A palmier (prounounced pahl-mee-eyh) is a French cookie made from puff pastry. Traditionally, it is made by sprinkling puff pastry with sugar, rolling it up, slicing it, and baking it so that each cookie looks like a palm frond.
Yes, these cookies are called palmiers but we've also hear them referred to by all sorts of names like puff pastry hearts, elephant ears, or even pig's ears. Whatever you decide to call them the bottom line is that they're totally delicious and one of the classic French cookies we search out whenever we travel to France.
Traditionally, palmiers are sweet puff pastry bites but we've also seen them made savory and we're so behind the idea. Though we've seen all sorts of savory riffs on them, the place we came across them most was when traveling in Provence.
If you've traveled to that corner of France then you're well aware that's everything from the architecture to the art and the food is sun soaked. When it comes to food that means sun-baked tomatoes, olives, and various charcuterie.
So we took those flavors to make sundried tomato palmiers Suffice it to say this tomato, olive, and prosciutto version of palmiers is not traditional but it is a bite of Provence that is totally transporting.
The most common types of savory palmiers we have come across have been Parmesan palmiers or sundried tomato palmiers. But you could do a slew of flavors such as pesto and bresaola, Manchego and tomato paste, or even quince jam and Cotija!
These little puff pastry bites are pretty great as is becuase there is all sort of flavor -- sweet, salty, savory, etc -- in each bite. However, they'd be just as at home as part of a cheese board or in a appetizer spread!
Okay, now it's time to stock up your panty with all the essential French ingredients, then try your hand at making this and then share your creation with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!
Heads up that Aida made this recipe on her IGTV so head there to check it out!
about 14 ounces
(about 10 to 12) minced or pulse in the food processor into a paste
Prepare The Puff Pastry: Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Place the defrosted pastry on the prepared work surface, dust lightly with flour, and, using a rolling pin and sharp knife roll and trim it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Use a dry pastry brush to dust off any flour.
Defrost the puff pastry according to the instructions on the package.
Assemble The Palmiers: Using a spoon, spread the tapenade evenly over the surface of the puff pastry. Scatter the sundried tomatoes over then top then sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese evenly over the top. If using the prociutto, drape the thinly slices pieces over the dough so it's evenly covered.
Now it's time to roll up the dough to create the palmiers. Starting with one of the longer sides, roll up the pastry tightly like a jelly roll, stopping at the center of the pastry. Repeat with the other side so that there are 2 rolls that meet in the center. Wrap and freeze until firm and sliceable, at least 10 to 15 minutes.
Slice The Palmiers: Meanwhile, heat oven to 400°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a very sharp serrated knife, trim and discard each end then cut the remaining roll crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets about 1-inch apart and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Chill in the refrigerator until pastry is firm, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Bake The Palmiers: Place the palmiers in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 375°F, remove them from the oven, flip them over, and continue to bake them until they are golden all over, 10 to 20 minutes more.
Remove the pinwheels to a wire rack to cool slightly then serve.
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