People have varying ideas of what Christmas is all about other than the whole ‘religious festival’ malarkey. Maybe it’s about spending time with friends, family, or just about finally getting a freakin’ break from work. Deep down though, I think we all know what Christmas is actually about; what is truly important at this special time of year. Pastry.
Many glorious things come wrapped in, or consist entirely of pastry during the festive season – sausage rolls, cheese straws, gougeres, things en croute, beef wellingtons, pork pies, mince pies and… palmiers. Okay so maybe they’re not everyone’s go-to Christmas nibble of choice but they should be because, guys, TWO ingredients!
The idea is you take a ready rolled sheet of puff pastry (unless you’re an idiot or a show-off in either case, rock on and make your own) then you cover it in a Strong Thing. So think, Parmesan, pesto, tapenade, something else that’s really 90’s. I’ve always been a fan of anchovy, personally, so this seemed like a clever little variation and I felt very smug with myself, thinking I’d get away with the fact that bottarga is expensive because ‘being festive’ is the same thing as ‘spaffing loads of money on food’.
I would share with you my ultimate festive nibble recipe and talk about how they’re really easy to make but look really fancy, they taste brilliant (goes without saying because: pastry) and it’s just good to have something so simple to bash out when people come over. I actually laughed out loud writing that last part, as if I made them for other people to eat and we wouldn’t scoff them all while watching Harry Potter films back to back, in bed.
The thing is, you actually need a surprising amount of bottarga to make this work – the first batch I made tasted only of pastry and reader, I will fess up right now and tell you I didn’t bother making a second because I wanted to save the rest of that expensive bottarga for grating over my spaghetti. Make the palmiers with anchovies or Parmesan and they will be brilliant. Sweet things work also.
So there we have it, I managed to balls up a two-ingredient recipe. Merry Christmas!
A sheet of ready rolled, all butter puff pastry
A Strong Thing, like grated Parmesan, or anchovies
Unroll the pastry, leaving the paper underneath. Grate or arrange your filing on top. Starting at the longest edge, roll the pastry as tightly as possible until you meet the middle. Do the same on the other side. Roll the paper tightly back around it and pop in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C/180 fan.
Slice the roll into palmiers slightly less than 1 cm thick and arrange on a non-stick tray or parchment lined tray. Bake for around 15 mins until golden. There’s a great vid on Good Food here if this doesn’t make sense and frankly, after today’s efforts, I wouldn’t listen to me either.