Coconut blossom palmiers

Coconut blossom palmiers

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

Coconut blossom sugar is extracted from the sap inside the flower buds of the coconut palm. It is commonly used throughout South-East Asia as a natural sweetener in baked goods as well as in savoury dishes such as curries and soups. We use it for its lovely butterscotch and molasses flavours, which give added depth and a slight bitterness to this flaky, buttery pastry. Coconut blossom sugar is widely available at Asian grocers and health food stores.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity see method for ingredients

Coconut sugar mix

Quantity Ingredient
125g coconut blossom sugar
100g soft brown sugar
150g raw (demerara) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoo table salt

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients for the sugar mix in a medium sized mixing bowl, and toss to combine.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle roughly 12 cm × 24 cm (4¾ in × 9½ in), and 1 cm (½ in) thick, with the long edge towards you. Lightly spray some cold water over the surface of the pastry to ensure the sugar sticks; be careful not to use too much. Sprinkle the pastry with a thin layer of the sugar mixture, ensuring the surface is evenly covered.
  3. Starting from the right-hand side of the rectangle, fold one third of the pastry into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Wrap your pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll it out again into a rectangle 12 cm × 24 cm (4¾ in × 9½ in), and 1 cm (½ in) thick, then repeat the folding process. Wrap and rest in the fridge for another hour.
  4. Roll the pastry out into a rectangle roughly 20 cm × 48 cm (8 in × 19 in), and 7 mm (¼ in) thick. Position it on the bench so the short edge is towards you. Lightly spray some cold water over the pastry, then generously sprinkle with the sugar mix, ensuring that the entire surface is covered evenly.
  5. Make notches in the pastry 23.5 cm (9¼ in) and 24.5 cm (9¾ in) from the bottom edge. Fold the top and bottom edges in to meet these notches. You will be left with a 1 cm (½ in) gap in the middle.
  6. Spray the newly exposed surfaces of dough with water, then generously cover with the sugar mix. Fold the top half down over the bottom, using the 1 cm (½ in) gap as a hinge.
  7. Spray the newly exposed surfaces of dough with water, and generously cover the surface with the sugar mix. Carefully flip the dough over and repeat so that both sides of the pastry block are covered with sugar. You should have roughly 50 g (1¾ oz) of sugar mix left after this.
  8. Cut 2.5 cm (1 in) slices through the cross-section of the pastry so that each slice is held together by the hinged edge. Keeping the sliced block together, gently transfer it onto a tray lined with baking paper. Wrap the tray in plastic wrap and freeze it for at least 6 hours, or overnight. The palmiers will last in the freezer for up to two weeks.
  9. To bake your palmiers, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and line two trays with baking paper. Remove the palmiers from the freezer, separate each slice from the block, and lay them out on the bench cut-side up.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mix over the top and then turn them upside down onto the lined trays, leaving a 5 cm (2 in) gap between each one. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until they are a deep golden colour and the pastry has expanded considerably.
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes. Once the caramel has set, turn the palmiers over and break off any excess bits of sugar, then place on a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Bakery notes

  • Before laminating the sugar into the pastry, apply a very fine film of water over the pastry so the sugar doesn’t slide off when you fold or roll the pastry. A spray bottle is ideal for this – you get just enough water to bind the sugar without drenching the pastry. A pastry brush, dipped in water and lightly applied, will also work.

    I prefer to bake these on a very sturdy tray that will hold its shape in the heat of the oven. If the base is firm, you will get more even caramelisation and a crispy texture.
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