Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday 21st of April 2013

The weekend has been very half-and-half here.  Yesterday (unlike today, grr!) the weather was glorious and we spent all morning and a large chunk of the afternoon in the garden.  I eschewed the chicken pie that I'd planned to make for lunch and instead served up a huge bowl of chicken salad with bacon, avocado, green beans and new potatoes.  Scattered with tarragon and dressed with my all-purpose honey mustard dressing, it was a hit with everyone present and much lighter eating than pie would have been on a warm day.

Of course, the abandonment of my pie plans did mean that there was a sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry now languishing, without purpose, in the 'fridge.  With leek and potato soup on the cards for lunch today, I decided to knock up some Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Palmiers to go with it

My Latest Leek and Potato Soup

lump of butter
6-8 thin slices of pancetta, chopped
6 thin leeks, halved and sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.2 litres chicken stock
2 bay leaves
white pepper

Melt butter in a large pan, fry the pancetta for a few minutes to let the fat begin to run, then turn the prepared leeks in the juices until well coated. Add the potatoes, mixing in well, then pour in the stock, add the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are really soft. Remove the bay leaves and purée. I use my BAMIX with the 'C' blade, but use what you like.  Season with white pepper only (the pancetta is, I feel, quite salty enough).

Now for the accompaniment.  Palmiers are dead easy to make with a ready-rolled sheet of puff pastry and the folding is straightforward.  I've taken loads of pictures to show you what I mean, because I think it would be very difficult to explain clearly with words alone.  I hope you give them a go, you can change the fillings easily to suit yourself, my boys are rather keen on pesto palmiers with extra pine nuts and parmesan.  Just remeber you need something 'spready' and one or two 'scattery' things and you're away...

Blue Cheese & Hazelnut Palmiers

150g Danish Blue cheese, at room temperature
25g unsalted butter, really soft
handful of hazelnuts, two-thirds chopped roughly, one-third finely

Mix the crumbled cheese and the butter together, mashing and stirring to form some semblance of a paste.  Using three-quarters of the cheese mix, dot teaspoons of this across the whole sheet of pastry, spreading it out as best you can , then scatter over the roughly chopped nuts.  Fold the long edges of pastry into the centre.

Now spread the remaining cheese over the uppermost surface and sprinkle with the finely chopped nuts. Fold the entire sheet in half (I use my silicone pastry mat to help), then wrap it up and chill it for at least an hour to firm up.

When it's had a good rest, cut the log, with a very sharp knife, into half-centimetre slices.  Put these, well-spaced and as shown, onto a lined baking sheet (parchment is absolutely fine and dandy if you don't have silicone mats) and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180ºc until golden, crisp and toasty.

Remove the palmiers to a cooling rack as quickly as you can.  

These are good either warm or cold; they are fabulous to go with drinks before dinner and keep for a few days in a tin (or they would, if my lot weren't so flaming greedy..!).  You can also prepare the logs, slice them and freeze the slices to cook from frozen. Just allow a little extra cooking time.

Cath xx

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails