Having grown up in a Chinese household, I am conditioned to favour savoury foods over sweet ones. My mom rarely made sweet desserts or snacks, partly due to our cultural habits and partly due to her dislike of nutrient-empty sweet snacks. Our family’s afternoon snacks were almost exclusively savoury. Some of the snacks that we had most frequently included ‘bak pao’ (pork steamed buns), coconut or red bean steamed buns, cheese baked buns, steamed Teochew peanut or jicama and carrot kueh and smaller servings of noodle soups and rice dishes. These snacks are all very tasty, but they are also too labour-intensive to make for a quick snack.
The cheese palmiers that I recently got into are clearly not Chinese or Asian and not something that I grew up with. But I love cheese palmier for its savouriness and non-nonsense-ness (if it makes sense?). It is also a great and ridiculously easy to make savoury snack for children and adults. While cheese palmier is a fair source of calcium, it is not exactly a health food due to the use of puff pastry and saltiness of the cheese. It is also hard to stop at one cheese palmier. A child or two had been known to eat an entire box in one sitting. So, I make cheese palmiers only when there are a few people to share them with, to avoid overeating and to increase ‘the want’ factor.
Based on a recipe from the ‘Good Chef, Bad Chef’ TV show (See http://www.goodchefbadchef.com.au/recipes/438-palmier-cheese-biscuit)
Makes about 15 palmiers
1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
50g parmesan cheese
25g tasty (aged/mature) Cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten, mixed with 1 tbsp water (egg wash)
Mark the sides of the pastry’s midpoint gently with your fingertip. Mix the cheeses and sprinkle them onto the pastry. From one end of the pastry, gently roll the pastry towards the midpoint as tightly as possible. Do the same from the other end.
Refrigerate the rolled pastry for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200°C.
Cut the refrigerated rolled pastry into 1-2cm slices (Mine were thicker than 2cm). Place the palmier slices gently on a baking tray lined parchment paper. Brush the palmier slices lightly with the egg wash. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool the palmiers on a wire rack before storing in an air-tight container.
Note: The amounts of cheese are approximates. I use around 2:1 ratio of parmesan cheese to tasty Cheddar cheese.