Sunday, April 24, 2011

Let's go to France....

This weekend I decided to take on a challenge by making Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers. Now that I have survived...I can say there are things I will be doing differently next time. Luckily, this wonderful flaky pastry taste amazing any way you make it.

I think for this recipe everyone deserves to see the end result before we venture into how to make them (hence the photo above). This recipe consists of puff pastry, cinnamon, sugar and (my favorite) butter.

I can say this recipe is something to try if you have the entire afternoon for baking.  Before getting started, please note this recipe takes about 5-6 hours (depending on how long you chill the dough).

If you would love to try this recipe and dont want to take the hours to make it, there is a shortcut.   Purchase the frozen puff pastry, follow the directions to thaw and use that dough instead and start recipe where it says to mix cinnamon and sugar. You should then be able to complete the recipe in less time.

But for those who would like to make their own puff pastry from scratch then try this recipe from the beginning. You will know why it is worth it when you pull the baking sheet out of the oven!!

Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers
1 1/3 C Unbleached Flour
1 tsp Salt
3/4 C Unsalted Butter (frozen)
7-8 Tbsp Ice Water
1/2 C Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Vanilla Sugar (homemade - see below)

To prep for recipe, put butter and metal bowl in freezer for 30 minutes or more.

When ready to begin, sift together flour and salt in metal bowl from freezer. Grate butter into flour and mix to coat.  Mix 6 Tbsp of ice water over flour mixture and stir until combined.  Dough should stick together test by pressing a small amount in your hand.  Be gentle when combining and do not overwork you do not want the dough to be tough or the butter to melt (its the secret to great puff pastry). If needed, add 1 additional Tbsp of water at a time until combined.

Once dough is formed, shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic and chill for 25 minutes. Once chilled, roll out on a floured surface into a 14 x 10 rectangle. Be sure to turn over dough as you roll, flouring board as needed to keep dough from sticking. Once you have the correct size, fold dough into thirds overlaying sides (like folding a letter). Wrap dough in plastic and chill for another 25 minutes.  Repeat two additional times.  On third roll out, once folded cut dough in half and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1-2 hours.

Next, mix together sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  On a clean work surface, sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of mixture and place one unwrapped piece of dough on sugared board rolling out into a 15 x 10 rectangle.  Be sure to rotate dough and add additional cinnamon/sugar if needed to keep dough from sticking. (If dough becomes soft return to fridge and chill for 10 minutes)

Once rolled out, sprinkle additional cinnamon/sugar on dough then fold dough into half with edges meeting in the middle. Then fold dough in half again with edges touching in middle. Finally fold the left half onto the right half (see picture below) and press down with a rolling pin.  Put on cookie sheet and chill in fridge for a minimum of 50 minutes. Repeat entire process with additional piece of dough.

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. (Note: dough will stick to plain baking sheet). Pull out one piece of finished dough and cut into 1/3 inch sections. Dip cut sides of dough in cinnamon/sugar mix and put cut side down on baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes then remove from oven.  Turn over palmiers and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Put back in oven for 3 minutes.

Transfer to wire rack to cool.  Repeat with additional dough.

Note: Be sure to store dough in fridge to chill until ready to use. Dough will get sticky and lose shape if left at room temperature.

To make Vanilla Sugar, you will need two things: 
1 C White sugar 
1 Vanilla Bean

Cut vanilla bean in half with a sharp knife. Put sugar in tight container and add vanilla bean. Store in cool, dry place for a month until vanilla has been absorbed into sugar. Use sparingly in recipes. Additional sugar can be added to container when supply becomes low. 

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