Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sweet Party Nibbles: Choc & Cherry Palmiers

Most party guests are happy to dive into a savoury buffet, but watch their eyes when the desserts come out! These small palmiers are easy to make, look good, and taste excellent. I invented them when invited to pre-lunch drinks with neighbours, since usually I'd take either chocolates or savoury nibbles such as cheese crisps, and wanted a change.

Dried cranberries could replace the cherries, halved if large - or even cranberry sauce - but good cherries are, for me, the food of the gods.

A cherry stoner (usually combined with garlic press - nice combination ...) saves time and is a little less messy. The palmiers should take about 40mins from start to ready, not including time to thaw the pastry (overnight in the fridge or 2-3hours at room temp). Equipment needed, apart from cherry stoner, is just a baking sheet lined with parchment, a rolling pin (or even a straight-sided bottle!) and a sharp knife.

The recipe makes about 36 nibble-sized palmiers, and the oven should be at 175C.
50p piece indicates size
Chocolate & Cherry Palmiers
Half sheet of frozen ready-rolled puff pastry (or 180g) (see Method 1)
40g fresh cherries, stoned
120g chocolate or choc/hazelnut spread
A little beaten egg
1 tbsp gran sugar

1  With the rolled pastry sheet still frozen, cut it in half crossways and leave it to thaw.
         The other half can return to the freezer.
2  Chop the cherries quite finely.
3  Unroll the thawed pastry on a floured board, and roll it just a little more thinly 
         widthways. Don't worry if the longer edges are not straight.
4  Spread the chocolate evenly over the pastry - if it's too thick and threatens to tear
         the pastry, it could be microwaved for 10secs first.
5  Scatter the cherry pieces in two lines lengthwise a little in from the edges like so:
The red silicon pastry mat doesn't do
any favours here, but bear with me
6  Roll up each long edge tightly towards the middle. Just before they 'meet', brush the
         facing edges with egg to help seal them, then press together and turn the whole
         thing over so the join is on the underside.
7  With a very sharp knife, slice into 10-12mm pieces. Place them flat on the baking
         sheet, a little apart, and brush them all over with egg. Sprinkle the sugar over.
8  Bake for 10-12mins or until the pastry is golden brown. 

These were very well received at the drinks do, I'm glad to say, and the recipe has been transferred to the fat but hallowed 'recipes that work' file. As opposed to the 'recipes to try sometime' collection. However, it seems clear that I need to enrol on a course on food photography!

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