Through much travel and separation, our family has remained bound together with a passion for good eating. Some of my most vivid memories are of the foods, meals and feasts around the dining room table. Iva’s yeast rolls, Jen’s cranberry relish, Emily’s spinach salad, Grammie Munsie’s apple pie, and Rowena’s roast turkey with cornbread stuffing were all delicious traditions at our annual Thanksgiving meals.
My brothers, sisters, families, spices, spouses, friends, toddlers and babies would gather from parts all over the country and abroad. First at the family homestead in Norway, and three days later at Aunt Faith’s home in Portland, to cook, share, and enjoy the richness of many generations.
Even though the farm-raised turkey was reserved months ago, there will just be two of us at the table this year. And we’ve decided to celebrate the harvest with lots of savory bites.
We cooks are always balancing tastes, textures and time. I’ve found that some of the most elegant and savory creations originate from quite simple recipes, like the recipe for Mushroom Palmiers from my archives.
A palmier (pronounced pahlm – YAY), is a crisp delicacy of puff pastry, also known as palm leaves because of its distinctive palm –leaf like shape. Traditionally sprinkled with granulated sugar, folded and rolled, cut into thin strips and baked into a caramelized pastry, this method adapts easily to savory fillings. In Mushroom Palmiers, a delicious combination of sautéed mushrooms seasoned with garlic and fresh rosemary combined with a soft cheese creates an irresistible morsel.
Easy to prepare, the filled pastry dough may also be frozen and baked in a hot oven directly from the freezer. And the recipe is quite adaptable to creativity; think spicy cheddar cheese with chopped bell peppers, or crabmeat or lobster combined with goat cheese and fresh basil, the flavor combinations are limited only by the available ingredients.
Puff pastry is available in the frozen section of your local supermarket. Because the flavor of the pastry is critical to the taste, if possible, choose a pastry that is manufactured without chemicals and made with all-butter. DuFour puff pastry, available at John Edwards market and other specialty stores, is my go-to choice.
There will be folks in Singapore, Ohio, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Boston, D.C. and Maine on our family zoom call. We’ll toast my father on his 89th birthday with a glass of sparkling cider, and enjoy our savory bites.
- 1 sheet puff pastry dough defrosted (all butter is best)
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms 4 ounces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 ounces cream cheese or soft goat cheese at room temperature (1/2 of a bar)
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, parsley or thyme finely chopped
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Clean the mushrooms and finely chop. Sauté the mushrooms in butter until they have rendered their water. Let cool. In a medium bowl, mix the soft cheese with the mushrooms. Stir in the chopped garlic and rosemary. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
- Unfold the puff pastry and roll out the seams. Spread the mushroom filling evenly over the pastry.
- On the long side of the pastry, roll the pastry and filling to the middle. Repeat on the other side. This creates the classic shape of the palmier. Wrap the pastry and chill until cold. The pastry may also be frozen.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a serrated knife cut the mushroom pastry into 3/8 inch slices.
- Place on the pan and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Serve on a tray.