Pesto and Goat Cheese Palmiers (elephant ears)

p1010674Here is an ideal holiday appetizer. Not only are these palmiers easy to prepare, but they are elegant and irresistible. Palmiers means palm tree in French, and they are also known as elephant ears. The connection? I have no idea (although there is a resemblance to the ears of an elephant). What I do know is that once you make these savory pastries, you’ll be hooked. Palmiers are also popular in a sweetened version laced with cinnamon and sugar – another guaranteed hit.

Because the pastry is so flaky and delicate, everyone assumes that they are labor intensive. With the availability of store-bought puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm sheets,your labor is reduced to the mere assembling of the “log” that you will slice. A breeze.

I have been experimenting with many “do-ahead” strategies – my favorite contribution to the busy cook who likes to plan ahead as I do. I have found that the log can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, and even more fantastic is that once you slice it, you can freeze the uncooked slices for a week, then bake them frozen. They don’t suffer a bit from these do-ahead tricks.

About 48 palmiers/elephant ears

1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, defrosted
1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
5 tablespoons finely diced roasted red peppers
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

  1. On a lightly floured surface unfold one sheet of the puff pastry.  With a rolling pin roll it into a 11 1/2 X 9 1/2 rectangle. Spread half of the pesto all over the sheet, then sprinkle on half of the goat cheese, half of the red peppers, and half of the pine nuts.

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2.  Starting at the shorter side, fold each end toward the center, leaving a strip of filling showing, that is, uncovered.

p10106423.  Now fold each side again until the folded edges touch.

p10106444. Lastly, fold in half so that one side overlaps the other.

p10106465. Place the log on a sheet of plastic wrap and cover tightly. Lift the log onto a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the other sheet of puff pastry, and chill both logs at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

6. When ready to cook the palmiers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Using a serrated knife slice the chilled logs into slices between 1/4 -1/2  inch thick ( I guess that would be 1/3 -inch thick.) Place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. You will get about 24 slices per log.p1010648

8. Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.