Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that people seem to have a rather strong opinion on. They either love it or hate it. It has always been a fun holiday for me, regardless of how old I was or if I was in a relationship. While we were growing up we had a big dinner at my grandmother’s house and always exchanged little gifts. I had various years with boyfriends, some without, and then I went to college and celebrated the best four Valentine’s Days of my life. It was at Bucknell that I found the true loves of my life- my best friends- and found out that Valentine’s Day was also Allie’s birthday. So if you are one of those people who can’t stand to celebrate, you can celebrate Allie’s birthday with me instead .
And onto my first dish on the menu. If you’ve ever been to a French bakery, you’ll have seen a classic palmier. They look like little puff pastry hearts, and when made jumbo are called elephant ears! Although they look difficult to make, they are really quite easy so long as you have good instructions and pre-made puff pastry dough. I suggest using Pepperidge Farm from the freezer section of your grocery store; I always have great results when using their brand. Instead of making a traditional sweet palmier, I decided to change it up and make something savory for a Valentine’s Day appetizer. I combined sun dried tomatoes and garlic to create a spread between the layers of dough. They taste like mini pizzas and perfectly light and decadent. This appetizer is great for a night with friends, a celebration with family, or watching your husband eat them all when he thinks you aren’t looking (my case).
- 1 sheet puff pastry dough, thawed
- ⅔ cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices proscuitto, optional
- 1 block Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the sun dried tomatoes and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is paste-like, roughly 2 minutes. Remove from the processor and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll the puff pastry dough out into a 12 x 12 inch square on a lightly floured surface. Use a pastry brush to spread the sun dried tomatoes in an even layer across the surface of the dough, leaving a ½ inch border around the outside. Add the prosciutto, if desired, on top of the tomato paste. Using a fine, hand held grater, grate the Parmesan cheese in a thin layer over top. Cover the entire surface so that it looks like a light snow has fallen.
- Mentally, or physically if you are visual like I am, draw a three horizontal lines across the puff pastry. Do not cut the dough! Just draw a line. The first in the middle of the dough, and the other two halfway to the top and bottom respectively. By doing this you divide the dough into quarters. This will be your guide for the folding.
- Gently fold the top edge of the dough to the first line at the top. Repeat the same for the bottom edge up to the bottom line (as shown picture 1).
- Now fold the new top edge to the middle line, and repeat for the bottom edge so that the two edges meet in the middle (as shown picture 2).
- Fold one last time so that the two halves are on top of each other, like a book. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into ½ inch slices. Put each slice face up on a parchment covered cookie sheet so that you can see the folds. Pinch the bottom of each slice so that it looks like a heart.
- Bake the palmiers for 15- 18 minutes, or until the dough is completely cooked through. Serve warm.
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