Palmiers

Palmiers (pahm-cc-yay) are classic French biscuits , made with puff pastry, rolled and folded with sugar. The secret is in the folding which gives them their familiar taste.

8 oz. plus 3 teaspoons unsalted butter, chilled

8 oz. Hour

½ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons iced water

4 oz. castor sugar

Using the 3 teaspoons of butter, lightly grease three large baking sheets and set them aside.

Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. With a table knife, cut

2 ounces of the remaining butter into the flour. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough of the water to make a firm dough. Knead the dough to make it pliable and form it into a ball. Cover with greaseproof or waxed paper and place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.

Put the remaining butter between two pieces of greaseproof or waxed paper and beat it with the back of a wooden spoon or a wooden mallet into a flat oblong about f-inch thick.

On a floured board, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape -inch thick. Place the butter in the centre of the dough and fold the dough over it to make a parcel. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Place the dough, with the folds downwards, on the board and roll it out away from you -into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle in three. Turn so that the open end is facing you and roll out again. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding process twice more.

Roll out the dough to an oblong about J-inch thick, 15-inchcs long and 4-inchcs wide. Sprinkle the dough with half of the sugar. Fold the long edges into the centre until they meet and press the dough down gently. Sprinkle with half of the remaining sugar and fold the same edges into the centre again. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and fold the two edges up to meet, pressing them firmly together. You should have a long strip, approximately 1-inch wide and 15-inchcs long.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough strip into {-inch thick slices. Place each slice, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheets, well spaced apart. Gently pull each strip open to make a ‘V shape. With the heel of your hand, flatten them slightly. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400 F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C).

Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator. Place in the top of the oven and bake for 7 minutes. Turn the palmiers over and bake for a further 7 minutes, or until both sides are a deep golden brown and the sugar has caramelized.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the palmicrs to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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