Palmiers or elephant ears are crunchy and crispy French biscuits that require two ingredients only, and one of them can be bought ready made from the store. Perfect with tea, coffee, or just eaten as a snack during the day.
Palmier or elephant ears is a French pastry made from puff pastry and sugar. The way the puff pastry is rolled gives it the shape of a palm leaf, a butterfly or even a heart. It’s traditionally made with just sugar, but other spices (cinnamon or nutmeg) or even nuts like pistachios and almonds can be added to add flavour and give a different taste. That’s all it takes, and of course baking time in the oven. Once ready, they can be kept in an air-tight container and kept for a few days.
The first time I had palmiers was when my bhabi (sister-in-law) made them at her place, and I was super impressed with how simple and delicious these biscuits were. Didn’t expect to eat so much but the crispy biscuit combined with caramelized sugar is quite addictive.
Make sure to select good quality puff pastry because that’s going to impact the taste of the final biscuit. Additionally, note the baking time required. The local puff pastry that I have used in Pakistan takes about 30 – 45 minutes to puff up and turn crispy. However, brands like Pepperidge Farm in the US bake in about 10 – 12 minutes.
Puff Pastry Availability:
Puff pastry is now easily available at supermarkets across Pakistan, or can be ordered from bakeries in advance. For instance, Ideal Bakery & French Bakery. I personally use the puff pastry from the Tee-Emm mart bakery. Additionally, you can get puff pastry blocks at supermarkets. One brand that I have tried is RR’s Puff Pastry available at Aghas, Ebco, Springs, Hydri Mart, Milestones and Greens.
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Palmiers or Elephant Ears
Palmiers or elephant ears are crunchy and crispy French biscuits that require two ingredients only, and one of them can be bought ready made from the store.
- 1 ½ - 2 cups sugar
- ½ kg puff pastry or puff pastry sheets
- Flour for sprinkling on work surface
Cut the puff pastry block into 2 parts so that it’s easier to roll. Spread a large sheet of baking paper on the work surface. This will help in preventing the dough from sticking to the work surface, and also help in moving it.
With a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry block in both directions to make a rectangle (roughly 10 x 15). Sprinkle flour on both sides in case the puff pastry sticks to the bottom. Do this with both puff pastry blocks. If using a puff pastry sheet, follow the instructions on the packet to thaw it. Once thawed, just roll it out a little bit in the same shape to create a thinner rectangle.
Sprinkle sugar on the puff pastry, making sure to cover it evenly. Gently roll the puff pastry a little bit more. This ensures that the sugar is pressed well into the puff pastry.
Fold the left and the right sides of the dough inward so they meet in the middle. Sprinkle more sugar over the dough. Again, roll over the dough lightly to press in the sugar.
Fold the left side over the right side, similar to closing a book. This will create a long, flat length of dough, with two folds in the middle.
Cover this dough with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This will firm up the dough and make it easier to cut.
Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.
Once the palmiers are chilled, use a sharp knife to slice the log into cookies that are about 1-inch wide.
Line a baking sheet with parchment/baking paper, and place the cookies on the sheet. Sprinkle the palmiers with more sugar, if you want. Make sure to leave space between the palmiers as they will puff up.
Bake the palmiers, turning them halfway through, until crisp and golden, with the sugar turning into caramel during the baking process. For the puff pastry I use, the baking process takes about 30 – 40 minutes but this would be less if using foreign puff pastry sheets.
- Mix cinnamon with the sugar to make cinnamon sugar palmiers.
- Crush nuts (almonds and pistachios), and add them on top of the sugar to add crunch and colour.
- Make savoury palmiers by spreading pesto sauce or tomato sauce. Add cheese in the last 10 minutes of baking so it can melt.