I have a confession to make, and that confession is that I, Sarah, food blogger, all round would-be fattie and dinner party, pot luck and party nibbles enthusiast, hate cooking for other people. Hate it.
And why? After all, there's a lot to like; I love cooking industrial quantities of food, positively revel in the routine of chopping, say, six onions for the monstrous 15 person chilli I made a few nights ago and I love, love, love having people over for a good glass (ahem, bottle) of wine, some food and a catchup. But the actual part where people put food I have provided into their mouth? Forget it.
What if they don't like it. What if they eat it anyway to be nice? What if they resent me afterwards? What if I poison or kill them? What if they, like, judge me or something.
Its not easy being paranoid, folks.
I do understand this is your basic kitchen craziness and that is why I'm changing. During the incident of the aforementioned 15 person 3 bean chilli (recipe potentially to follow, but then I know you can make chilli without my say so!) I only wanted the ground to swallow me up maybe once. Alright, twice. Three times.
So, to bring this pity party to an end, there is light at the end of the tunnel; picnic food. It's beautifully anonymous out there with everyone else's offerings, it's simple (Like bread? Like cheese? They're probably not going to spit out your triangle sandwiches!) and, if all else appears to be in vain, you probably didn't make enough that you can't just hoover up the offending evidence yourself. Which brings me to- Palmiers, any which way you care to serve them.
*This recipe is all about the flaky, buttery pastry. Once that's done, its a matter of two or three added goodies. So please, even if you only do it once, promise me you make your own here.*
I like a rich, butter heavy and egg-rich pastry, but please, sub in the one that makes you happy, whether by its ease or flavour (but of course, a healthy combination of the two is best). This one is a shortcrust, but as you can see from the photos, it rises and flakes a little like a rough puff.
225g plain flour (plus more to roll out on)
110g butter, fresh from the fridge
2 medium eggs
2-3 taplespoons cold water
a little salt, pepper, parmesan, sugar, (obviously use common sense depending on filling- for the red pesto and cheese palmiers pictured I used a good grind of salt, two good grinds of pepper and a few grater swipes of parmesan)
**This is the tip, and bear in mind you're only getting it cause I love you, that rid me of my fear of pastry making. You see, having no fancy wire thingamebobby for getting butter into flour without touching it, and having the hands of a weak and feeble woman, I struggled to incorporate my butter without it getting tough, warm and greasy but I listened to way too many people insisting my food processor would just ruin the texture to attempt any other way. Well, get this- food processor pastry just got hot. Well, cold. But delicious!
Cube half, and only half the butter (leaving the rest IN THE FREEZER) and process with all the flour until well incorporated and looks like dry breadcrumbs. Then grate the other, partly frozen half into the pastry and stir it in my hand. Stir, don't rub. Those little slivers of frozen butter will melt in the oven to create air pockets, giving your pastry amazing flakiness and lightness.
So, without further wordy ado, palmiers!
1) Yeah, um, do that stuff up there ^
2) Beat both eggs and stir in
3) You may not need any water, but if you do, add some until the dough comes together
4) Pop it in the fridge
5) Hang out for 20 mins or so, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and choose your weapons for the filling.
6) Roll our the pastry into a long rectangle about the thickness of a £1 coin.
7) Cover the whole rectangle aside from a little 'ooze margin' down either side with your topping. I used red pesto from a jar here, jazzed up with chilli flakes, cayenne and chedder cheese but the world is your oyster. I wouldn't recommend oyster though, mind.
- Cinnamon, sugar and melted butter (what, cinnamon rolls don't get all the love!)
- Peanut butter and jam
- Lemon curd and white chocolate
- Sundried tomato and rosemary
- Ricotta and spinach
- Mascarpone and fruit jam (for a cheesecake feel)
- Anything that spreads!
9) Slice into 1cm slices. I like this thickness, a good bite without too much bulk, which leads to flaky pastry on your lap/top/laptop. Top with grated parmesan/sugar/dried herbs as appropriate
10) Bake on a baking sheet for 10-15 mins. Pastry will look golden, puffed and cooked. They smell incredible, so serve warm to house guests or cold as part of a picnic spread.
(11) Try not to cry or let your lip wobble as people tuck in, it's embarrassing. Oh wait, that's just me...)