Friday, March 12, 2010

Savory Palmiers & Puff Pastry

Top 10 "Most Difficult" Recipes: #7 Puff Pastry

Total Batches: One
Time: One day
Butter: Over a pound
Difficulty: Making a classic laminated puff pastry really isn't that difficult. Perhaps it is that many have gotten used to making the much simpler blitz or rough puff pastry that relatively, a true laminated dough seems a bit tedious.

Though, I suppose if you're living in a warm climate and your room temperature is in the 80's or 90's, making laminated doughs does get a bit more complicated.

It has been cold in Seattle this week and as such, my room temperature has been about 50°F, making puff pastry and croissant dough a cinch. (Oh and by the way, will get around to posting part two of the croissant trials Monday, if not this weekend.) The down side to the cold weather is that I think my sourdough starter has been suffering. It has been acting rather pathetic since the temperature dropped on Monday.

So today we're posting the puff pastry recipe, the same used for the napoleons yesterday. I also whipped up several batches of savory palmiers with this dough (though typically I make these with blitz puff pastry). Mr Humble loves the prosciutto palmiers and the little Humble was a big fan of the pesto. As for myself, I love anything surrounded by light buttery puff pastry.

Yes, even a Hot Pocket would be rendered edible.

Puff Pastry Dough
yields 4lbs
533 grams bread flour
40 grams cake flour
14 grams salt
113 grams butter, soft
270 mL water, cold

510g butter, pliable
57g bread flour

Combine the flours, salt, butter and water in the bowl of your mixer. Use the dough hook to blend on low speed until a smooth dough is formed. Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap and a light dusting of flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly the size of the sheet pan and place it into your prepared pan. Cover with plastic and chill for an hour.

Prepare the roll-in by beating the cold butter with your rolling pin until it is soft and pliable. Add it to your mixer and beat in the flour using the paddle attachment. Transfer the butter to a sheet of parchment paper and form it into a smooth rectangle (no lumps or bumps) roughly half the size of the sheet of dough. Cover with plastic and chill until firm but still pliable (you don't want the roll in to become hard).

Once the dough is chilled, you can preform the lock in.

Remove the dough from the sheet pan and place onto a cool surface like a marble pastry slab. Place the butter at one end of the dough and then fold over the other half. Firmly seal the edges of the dough around the butter and then roll the dough out back to its original size (the size of the half sheet pan). Try to keep the edges straight and the corners square.

Once rolled, preform a four-fold on the dough. Meaning: fold the two shorter sides of the dough to the center, and then fold in half. Much like a four fold wallet.

It should look like the above after your first four fold. Mark the dough with a dimple (or dimples) so you can remember which 4-fold you're on. We've completed the first four fold here so I'm poking it just once. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for 30-45 minutes (don't rush this process in the freezer, you're not just allowing the dough to chill but the gluten to rest so it is capable of stretching and creating all those wonderful layers).

Once rested, turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into the sheet pan sized rectangle, keeping the edges straight and the corners sharp. Preform a second four fold, mark the dough with two dimples, wrap and allow to rest again for 30 minutes.

Repeat this two more times for a total of four four-folds, turning the dough 90 degrees each time. Allow to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator after each folding and before using.

Now you've got puff pastry! You can roll it out into sheets, fold it, wrap it and store it in the freezer for future use.

Or, you can make some quick and easy savory palmiers...

Pesto and Prosciutto Palmiers:

Prosciutto Palmiers
1 sheet of puff pastry (10" square 1/4" thick)
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
10 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup pecorino romano or parmesan, grated
fresh ground pepper

Spread the tomato paste evenly over the surface of the puff pastry. Arrange the prosciutto slices on top and then sprinkle with half of the grated pecorino romano. Roll or fold the two sides to the center, and then sprinkle center with the remaining cheese and close (this keeps them from unfolding when the pastry puffs in the oven).

Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut 1/4" slices. Place these onto a baking sheet lined with parchment giving them plenty of room to expand.

Bake at 400°F for 10-20 minutes until golden brown.

Pesto Palmiers
1 sheet of puff pastry (10" square 1/4" thick)
2-3 tablespoons basil pesto
1/2 cup pecorino romano or parmesan, grated

Follow the same instructions for the prosciutto palmers, as given above.



  1. Boy do those look awesome. However, you hit the nail on the head with the climate issue. I live in Fl and humidity + 100 degrees is quite common. Thanks for the lesson

  2. Those are so pretty, they look like they're smiling at all the Humble readers :)

  3. I am really craving some prosciutto now...

  4. Ooo! Clever and beautiful!

    Also, for fun I have an award for you over at my blog :)

  5. Beauteeful! I was never a fan of palmiers when I was in France--perhaps it was the ubiquitous presence of the pains au chocolat on the next shelf. But I am now quite ready to give them a shot. (To eat, I mean, not to make. Even though I now feel capable of it.)

  6. Simple I may be, but I don't understand the reason behind the single dimple in the dough - how does it help you remember which four-fold you are on, exactly?

  7. Sorry for the confusion. It isn't a single dimple each time. I do the following:

    Single dimple (notes 4-first fold completed)
    Two dimples (second 4-fold completed)
    Three dimples (third 4-fold completed)
    Four dimples (fourth 4-fold completed)

    It is good to know what step I am on because I tend to lose count (The Humble kitchen is a busy one). It is even more handy if you're working multiple batches of laminated dough, which I often do.

  8. I agree, puff pastry wasn't that difficult when I tried it -- just sort of drawn out! You have to commit to the chilling, rolling, folding, chilling, rolling, folding, etc . . . :D

    Lovely palmiers!

  9. Oooh, those do look tasty. This has inspired me to try and make something like this, though I think I will use Pillsbury dough instead just to be safe.

    I was kind of hoping for some Pi themed food for today from you!

  10. a puff-pastry-wrapped hot pocket? yeah, i'd eat it. :)

  11. A Pi Pie was on my short list of things to do, but I never got around to it.

  12. Can this recipe be halved? ^_^

  13. Pepper Jack,

    Yup. Though, with so much effort involved in its production, it usually is worthwhile to make a full batch and freeze any leftover sheets for later.

    It is a lot of work for a small batch of pastry.


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