James Beard Award-winning Cookbook Author

Just the Recipe: Make Palmiers with Quick Puff Pastry

Recipe with Tips and History




Puff pastry can be turned into all sorts of sweet or savory creations. Here I show you how to make Palmiers, crisp multi-layered French pastries resembling palm leaves.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine French
Servings 18 Palmiers


  • Cookie sheets


  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour spooned into dry measuring cups and leveled; 6 ¾ ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream the real thing, no substitutes


  • Put the flour into a large bowl and whisk in the salt.
  • Cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and add to the flour.
  • Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles medium-coarse flakes. (Feel free to use your hands, rapidly pinching the fat and flour together).
    If you prefer, you can cut the butter into the flour with a food processor, pulsing rapidly until the butter is in small bits.
  • Stir in the sour cream with a fork to make a dough that just holds together.
  • Flour lightly if dough is sticky. Shape into a 1-inch-thick square, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Or freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Spread a section of your work surface with granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar.
  • For cinnamon sugar, stir together 1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.
  • Put the dough on the sugar, turning it to coat all sides.
  • Keeping the dough well-sugared, roll it into a 14-inch square.
  • Sprinkle more sugar on top of the dough.
  • Determine the center of the dough and mark it lightly with a ruler or the back of a knife.
  • Fold each side into thirds toward the center, folding so that, rather than meeting in the center, there is a ½-inch space between the edges. Here’s the left side folded. Note the line indicating the center of the dough.
  • And here’s the right side folded.
  • Then close the dough along the central space like a book, making a compact 6-layered roll about 2 inches wide and 14 inches long.
  • Wrap airtight and refrigerate for 1 hour or more, until dough is firm enough to be sliced evenly. Trim away uneven edges.
  • Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets (14 x 17 inches) with aluminum foil, cooking parchment, or silicone baking pan liner. If using USA Pan cookie sheets, lining the pans is unnecessary.
  • With a very sharp knife, cut the dough into eighteen 3/4-inch-thick slices.
  • Dip both sides of the slices into sugar and place the palmiers 2 to 3 inches apart on the sheets, 9 palmiers to a sheet.
  • Refrigerate one sheet and place the second in the oven.
  • Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the sugar on the bottom has melted and is well-caramelized.
  • Turn palmiers over with a wide metal spatula and continue baking until palmiers are evenly and well-browned throughout, 3 to 5 minutes more. Do not underbake. Pastries must be a deep brown color.
  • Slide the pan liner off the cookie sheet onto your work surface and let palmiers cool a few minutes before transferring them to cooling racks to finish cooling.
  • Store airtight and serve when very fresh.

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