Maybe because it’s so similar to my home state of California, but the food and flavors of Provence — tomatoes, olive oil, herbs, cheeses, etc — have always felt like second nature.
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.
What Is A Palmier?
Just so we’re on the same page, let’s clarify exactly what it is we’re talking about, shall we?
A palmier (pronounced 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.
Savory Palmiers Bites
Traditionally, palmiers are sweet puff pastry bites but we’ve also seen them made savory and we are 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.
Tips For Making Palmiers
- Defrost The Puff Pastry Well Ahead: Follow the package directions of whatever type of puff pastry you buy as far as defrosting. But no matter what don’t rush the defrosting step because doing it wrong could cause the pastry to not puff!
- Use Good Quality Puff Pastry Dough: Speaking of, use really good quality puff pastry dough that is, ideally, all butter. Our favorites are Dufour or Schar if you need it to be gluten free!
- Pulse The Tapenade Or Tomatoes To Make Them Spreadable: If you have time, we highly recommend you make homemade tapenade because you’ll be able to control the flavors better. Also, it’s easier to spread the tapenade and the sundried tomatoes if they’re super small in size. To do this either mince it up or place it in a food processor and pulse the ingredients briefly until they’re even in size.
- Don’t Go Too Overboard On The Ingredients: It’s tempting to add more and more of the ingredients but trust us that you don’t want to overdo it. Too many of the ingredients will make the palmiers greasy and they’ll likely fall apart when baking.
- Freeze To Slice: You want to chill the palmiers “log” down before you slice it as it’ll hold it’s shape better when it’s cool.
- And Chill Before Baking: Also, chill the sliced palmiers for just a few minutes — say 5 to 15 — before baking so that they don’t “melt” when baking.
- Make Them Ahead: Yes! You can totally make these ahead of time. You could do so one of two ways: 1) Freeze the sliced palmiers (make sure they’re well wrapped) and then bake them from frozen when you’re ready to serve them (they’ll need a few more minutes to bake since they’ll be frozen) or 2) Bake them up to 1 day ahead of time and then just rewarm them briefly in a low oven (say 10 minutes at 250°F) before serving them.
Variations On Savory Palmiers
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!
How To Serve Savory Palmiers
These little puff pastry bites are pretty great as is because 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 an appetizer spread!
See The Recipe Made Step By Step
Heads up that Aida made this recipe on her IGTV so head there to check it out!
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Olive, Tomato, Prosciutto, and Parmesan Palmiers Recipe
- 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry about 14 ounces
- 1/2 cup tapenade
- 2/3 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes (about 10 to 12) minced or pulse in the food processor into a paste
- 2/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese divided
- 3 to 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 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 roll and trim it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle using a rolling pin and sharp knife. Use a dry pastry brush to dust off any flour.
- Assemble The Palmiers: Using a spoon, spread the tapenade evenly over the surface of the puff pastry. Scatter the sundried tomatoes over the top, then sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese evenly over the top. Using the prosciutto, drape the thin 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 2 rolls meet in the center. Wrap and freeze until firm and sliceable, at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slice The Palmiers: Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it 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.