Meatless Monday – Palmiers (French “Elephant Ears”)
In the Land of Butter & Cheese, a Vegan Celebration
By Meg Claire
This Thanksgiving, I’ll be in Paris. I admit I’m relieved for this “get-out-of-Thanksgiving-free” card by spending it in a country that doesn’t celebrate it. No need for explanations at the family table this year.
I’ve always loved my trips to France. Although it boasts the best food, shopping and culture in the world, appreciation for the vegan lifestyle hasn’t quite caught on. On November 28th however, the French will celebrate their 2nd Annual Paris Vegan Day. I’ll be there, and promise to provide a full report.
In the meantime, try these couldn’t-be-easier French dessert cookies. Laduree, a renowned pastry shop in Paris, makes these Palmiers (Americans know them as “Elephant Ears”) the size of your head. They’re enormous and delish, but not vegan. Flaky, sweet, and even buttery-tasting, these Palmiers below are a true vegan treat I first noticed in Ina Garten’s cookbook Barefoot in Paris. I’ve been known to eat them straight off the cookie sheet. If you can manage to keep some aside for guests, they won’t believe these don’t contain butter. The key is to use Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry.
Makes about 3 dozen
2 cups natural sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sheets Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted but still very cold
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the sugar and salt. Pour 1 cup of the mixture onto a pastry board or other flat surface, and spread it around. Unfold the first sheet of puff pastry onto the board and pour ½ cup of the sugar mixture on top, and spread it evenly to cover the puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry until it’s a 12” square and sugar is pressed in all around. Fold the sides of the pastry square toward the center so they go halfway to the middle point. Then fold one half over the other, like closing a book. You should have 6 layers. Slice the pastry “book” into ½ inch slices and place them cut-side up on parchment-lined baking sheets. Go through the same process with the second sheet of puff pastry, using the last ½ cup of sugar mixture. There will be leftover sugar on the board.
Bake the cookies for 6 minutes or until caramelized and brown on the bottom. Then turn and bake for another 3-5 minutes until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to rack to cool.
This recipe only works because of a "trick" ingredient like the puff pastry, which you'd swear is full of butter, but isn't. What are your "trick" vegan ingredients?