These little party biscuits are incredibly easy to make – they employ what’s fast becoming one of my favourite modern conveniences, the refrigerated roll of puff pastry. There’s a particular charm in the way that no matter how squashed-looking they are when you put them in the oven, the magic in the pastry means that they’ll rearrange themselves into perfect rounded swirls (representing palm trees, hence the name) once the pastry starts to cook, without you having to exercise any particular artistic talent.
I like to make my own tapenade for these (I like it full of zip and garlic), but you can use a good shop-bought one if you like. Try experimenting with other ingredients; these palmiers are really excellent with sun-dried tomato paste, with pesto and with pounded artichoke hearts.
To make enough for nibbles for six, you’ll need:
100g stoned black olives in oil (Try to find something that’s not too salty in a flavourful marinade. I like Waitrose’s Spanish Couchillo olives.)
Zest of 1 lemon
4 fat cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons salted capers, well-rinsed
8 anchovies in olive oil
1 fresh red chilli
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pack puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200° C. Put all the tapenade ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth enough to spread.
Lay out the rectangle of puff pastry with the long end facing you, and spread the tapenade all over the surface. (If you have any tapenade left over, try it on some toast as a snack – it’s delicious.) Roll up the side nearest you halfway towards the other side, then roll up the other side towards you to meet it. Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolled pastry into slices about half a centimetre thick.
Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper and lay out the little pastry swirls, leaving enough room for the pastry to rise and puff. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp and golden, swapping the trays over halfway through. Serve warm with cold drinks.