Cheese palmiers make wonderful appetisers to go with drinks. They can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for a day or two and then reheated for a few minutes just before serving.
They are based on a recipe from the 1990s, by a popular British television cook of the time, Delia Smith, who had a reputation for producing well-tested recipes that were reliable and yet with some interesting twists. She is now in her 70s but she is still working hard although she is perhaps now better known as a a prominent and vocal football (soccer) supporter.
This version uses a Swedish cheese called Västerbottensost which you can buy from specialist suppliers. If you can’t get any Västerbottensost use a mixture of Cheddar and Parmesan instead. I usually make some of the palmiers stuffed with some ansjovis (Swedish sprats), but I also make some without as not everyone likes ansjovis. John Duxbury
• This recipe might sound complicated but it is actually quite simple, although it is hard to describe. (That might mean that it might take longer to make the first time around!)
• I have tried making palmiers with ready-rolled puff pastry, but it doesn’t take too kindly to being rolled again so I don’t recommend it.
• If you don't like ansjovis, try some Parma ham instead.
|175 g||(6 oz)||ready-made puff pastry|
|50 g||(2 oz)||Västerbottensost, grated|
|6||Swedish ansjovis fillets|
|1||egg ligthly beaten|
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C (425°F, Gas 7, Fan 200°C) and lightly grease two baking trays.
2. Roll the pastry until it is about the size of an A4 sheet (20 cm x 30 cm or 8” x 12”) and then turn it so the short side is near you.
3. Spread the two thirds of the pastry furthest away from you with the grated cheese and then add some freshly ground black pepper.
4. Fold the bottom third, the part without any cheese on it, over half of the pastry with cheese on it. Then fold it over again so you have three thicknesses of pastry. Then roll it out again, rolling away from you, to make a square about 20 cm x 20 cm (8" x 8") and finally trim the edges so you have a neat square.
5. Cut the square in half so that you have two long thin strips.
6. Cut the ansjovis fillets in half lengthways and lay 4 strips of ansjovis across one half of the pastry as shown above, joining some ansjovis together if necessary so they go across the full width.
7. Fold the part nearest to you to the middle and then do the same with the part furthest away from you so that they join in the middle.
8. Roll the two outside edges up towards the centre. Gently squeeze the two rolls together then, using a sharp knife, cut the rolls carefully into slices about 5 mm (¼”) thick.
9. Lay them out on a baking tray, forming them into heart shapes and leaving a gap round each palmier, so that they have room to expand when baked.
10. Repeat with the other strip of pastry, omitting the ansjovis if you want some plain palmiers.
11. Brush all the palmiers with beaten egg after putting them on the tray.
12. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown, and then cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving whilst still warm. (Alternatively, allow to cool completely then store in a tin until required and heat for 5 minutes or so before serving.)
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