Savory palmiers filled with bacon, Gruyère, caramelized onions, and a touch of cream-style horseradish are a convenient and versatile puff pastry appetizer. Prep in advance and freeze for easy entertaining!
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What are Palmiers?
Palmiers (also called “elephant ears” or “palm leaves”) are sweet French pastries. They’re traditionally made by rolling or folding a sheet of sugar-sprinkled puff pastry toward the center from opposite ends, slicing, and baking until flaky.
These savory palmiers are a twist on the classic recipe that swaps out the sugar for cream-style horseradish, Gruyère, bacon, caramelized onions, and herbs. They’re a perfect two-bite puff pastry appetizer to serve with cocktails or wine.
What You’ll Need to Make Savory Palmiers
To make this recipe, you’ll need two sheets of defrosted puff pastry from a (roughly) 1-pound package, such as Dufour (made with butter) or Pepperidge Farm (made with vegetable oil/shortening).
Want to try your hand at making your own puff pastry? Try this Rough Puff recipe from Epicurious.
The base of the filling is a thin layer of cream-style horseradish. I most often the Inglehoffer brand for this recipe.
We like the horseradish to be on the milder side in these palmiers so it doesn’t overpower the other flavors (or send guests clamoring for the nearest box of tissues! <cue laugh track>). I use one tablespoon per sheet of puff pastry, but if you’re using a milder brand, or prefer the palmiers spicier, you can increase it to two tablespoons.
You’ll also need shredded Gruyère cheese, crisp cooked and crumbled bacon, caramelized onions, and fresh thyme leaves.
Tips for Making this Recipe
One of my favorite parts about savory palmiers is how easy they are to make. Just layer the fillings on a sheet of puff, roll them up, chill, slice, and bake.
Depending on the brand of puff pastry you buy, you might need to roll it out slightly before assembling the palmiers. The pastry should be about ⅛-inch thick.
After layering the filling ingredients, use a piece of plastic wrap or parchment to gently compress them. This will give you a cleaner cut when slicing the palmiers.
Shaping The Palmiers
To shape the palmiers after filling, you’ll start at one of the long ends of the puff pastry, and roll toward the center. When you’ve reached halfway across the sheet, roll the opposite end to the center to create a scroll-like log that meets in the middle.
Depending on the sheet of puff pastry, sometimes you’ll need a few dabs of water where the two rolls meet to make them stick together and hold their shape.
Once you have the puff pastry rolled into a log, it’s important to thoroughly chill the dough. This will both make it easy to slice the palmiers cleanly, and ensure slower melting of the butter/fat in the pastry as it bakes for puffed, flaky layers.
We like the palmiers sliced about ¼-inch thick. They bake up to a bite that’s crispy with a good ratio of pastry to filling. For a “puffier” version, the pastry can be sliced ½-inch thick and baked an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
Making Savory Palmiers Ahead
There are a few ways to prep this recipe ahead for easy entertaining, especially during the holiday season.
I often caramelize the onions and cook the bacon the day before I’m going to make them. That way, I’m just assembling and baking when guests are on their way.
Want to make crispy bacon for this recipe with easy cleanup? Check out my How to Cook Bacon in the Oven tutorial.
This recipe can also be completely assembled in advance and frozen. I almost always have a roll or two stored in my freezer for when I need a quick nosh for friends (or for myself!)
If freezing the entire roll, wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and defrost before slicing and baking as directed. You can also freeze sliced, unbaked palmiers. Freeze them on parchment-lined baking sheets until solid and transfer to freezer-safe bags for storage. No need to defrost before baking.
Whether rolled or sliced, savory palmiers store well in the freezer for about a month. Once baked, they’re best served while warm. Baked pastries don’t store well.
More Easy Appetizer Recipes:
- Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Slab Pie
- Italian-Style Deviled Eggs with Garlic & Basil
- Spinach-Artichoke Dip
- Maple-Sriracha Devils on Horseback
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Glaze
Savory Palmiers with Bacon, Swiss, and Caramelized Onions
- 2 sheets puff pastry , defrosted (17-ounce package)
- 2 tablespoons cream-style horseradish *
- 2 cups shredded Gruyère
- ⅔ cup caramelized onions
- 8 strips bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Lay one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly-floured surface. The dough should be about ⅛-inch thick; if needed, roll it out slightly.
- Spread the dough with 1 tablespoon of cream-style horseradish. Distribute the remaining ingredients across the pastry, in the following order: 1 cup Gruyère, ⅓ cup caramelized onions, half of the crumbled bacon, ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme. Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on top of the pastry and press down gently to compact layers (or, gently roll over it with a rolling pin).
- Starting at one of the long sides, tuck and roll the pastry until you reach the center of the sheet. Roll the opposite end toward the center until the two rolls meet. Dab a few drops of water onto the pastry if the rolls don't stick together in the center.
- Repeat process with second sheet of puff pastry and remaining ingredients.
- Wrap the pastry rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or freeze 30 minutes, until firm (but not completely frozen). Unwrap and cut with a sharp knife into ¼-inch thick slices, about 24 per roll.
To bake immediately:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place sliced palmiers 1-inch apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake until golden and flaky, 12-15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. (Bake time will depend on how cold your pastry is before going into the oven.)
- Let rest 2-3 minutes and loosen palmiers from parchment with a thin metal spatula. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.
To freeze and bake later:
- Freeze palmiers on baking sheets until solid, then transfer to freezer-safe bags for storage, up to 1 month.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place frozen palmiers 1-inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake, from frozen, 15-18 minutes, until golden and flaky, rotating pans halfway through. Continue as directed above.
This recipe originally appeared on Striped Spatula in December 2013, and was updated in 2020 with new photos and video.