Recipe: Parmesan Pepper Palmiers

Typically, palmiers are sweet, crispy cookies baked in a shape said to resemble the foliage of a palm tree – hence the name. In the US, sometimes they’re called elephant ears. To make ‘em, you roll puff pastry dough in plenty of sugar, fold it into a palmier shape (more on that below), slice and bake until caramelized. They’re excellent with tea, ice cream, or on their own as a decadent sweet afternoon treat.

But at the puff pastry BAKE! class I took a few weeks ago (more on that here and here), we made a second batch of palmiers: instead of rolling the dough in sugar, we rolled it in grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and freshly-cracked Tellicherry black pepper.

Just imagine: you pick one up, bring it to your nose. Inhale deeply. Appreciate the rich aroma of butter and good parmesan. Take a nibble. Feel the light, flaky dough shatter on your tongue. Taste the golden, toasty cheese. Let the faint heat of the pepper linger on the back of your tongue.

Parmesan pepper palmiers would make exceptional hors d’oeurves, if you’re willing to share them. Otherwise, they’re a phenomenal snack. I’ve been enjoying them lately alongside a crisp hard cider.

16 oz freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
22.5 oz puff pastry dough

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the pepper and the cheese.
Spread some of the cheese on a counter, then put the puff pastry dough on the cheese and sprinkle more cheese on top.

Roll the dough into an oblong rectangle, until the dough is about 1/8″ thick.
As you roll, add more cheese until you’ve added in as much as the dough will take.

Take the outer lengthwise edges of the dough and fold them so that they meet in the middle.

Fold the dough in half lengthwise, so that you now have four layers of dough.

Cut the dough into 1/2″ slices.

Place the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet. They will expand to get wider, but not taller, so leave plenty of room on either side of each palmier.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Rotate the baking sheet in the oven every 5 minutes to ensure they brown evenly.

Let cool – at least enough so that they won’t burn your tongue.

If you don’t eat them all right away, store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to two months.

Yield: about 30 palmiers