Prosciutto and puff pastry

A delicious and versatile puff pastry can be turned into the pastry of your imagination. Puff pastry is made with rolled up dough, with butter between each layer. The dough is then folded onto itself over and over again. Once baked, the butter between the layers of the dough bubbles up and the dough expands into a crispy golden pastry. The butter that lies in the different layers makes the dough crispy and adds a nice buttery flavor to the dough.

Palmier is a puff pastry rolled into a shape similar to a palm leaf. This recipe is for palmier with prosciutto ham.

This palmier has prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese in it. If you can get your hands on Parma ham, this would be even better.

For palmier with proscuitto, you will need:

A package of puff pastry, ¼ cup of tomato paste plus 1 tablespoon of water (or broth) — 15 slices of Prosciutto mixed with ½–¾ cup of Parmesan cheese (the fresher the better!)

Puff pastry normally comes frozen. Take it out of your freezer and put it into the fridge the day before you would want to use it. Or, if you suddenly decide to bake something using it, leaving it in a metal pot will warm your pastry up faster.

Once your pastry is thawed, cut it into a square shape approximately 12 inches by 12 inches. Then, brush your pastry thoroughly with the tomato paste mixture.

On the brushed puff pastry, lay your prosciutto. You need at least one layer of prosciutto. If your budget allows, use up to two layers of prosciutto. Since the meat is quite fatty, the excess fat can really affect how the palmier bakes. Over the prosciutto, sprinkle a nice layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Since both Parmesan cheese and prosciutto are very flavorful, you would not need a lot of either of them.

Roll each side of the puff pastry up toward the center so you have two rolls that meet in the middle. Roll them firmly so that you can slice them, but not so tightly that the pastry won’t puff up.

Slice the pastry to approximately ¼ inch in thickness. If your kitchen is really warm, put the rolled up pastry in the freezer for around 10 minutes before you slice the roll. Once the pastry becomes firmer, it is easier to slice.

Once you have your pastry in slices, lay them down on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper about an inch apart. Make sure that your pastry is not too tight, so that it can puff properly. Bake them in a 400°F oven for approximately 10–12 minutes until golden brown. You can prepare the sliced palmier ahead of time and just pop it in the oven when you want to eat it.

Frozen puff pastry can be used in so many different ways. Cut the puff pastry into a square that is 1½ inches by 1½ inches. Place some brown sugar in the middle. Fold the corners together so that you end up with a triangle and bake them. If you can’t get your hand on brown sugar, white sugar will work, too.

If you bake a lot or drink a lot of coffee, vanilla sugar can add extra flavor, and it’s easy to make. Get a vanilla bean and put it in your sugar bowl. The flavor from the vanilla bean will transfer into the sugar. The fragrance from a vanilla bean is softer and very subtle compared to the synthetic fragrance found in the imitation vanilla extract that is more commonly used.

Another classic way to use prosciutto is prosciutto with melon.

For this, you will need:

Cantaloupe; Prosciutto, ideally Parma. You will need at least 12 slices of Parma ham for a whole melon.

It is really as simple as the name suggests. All you need to do is cut up the melon with a knife and lay Parma ham next to it. You would cut the ham and melon together in one bite.

You can get more ham if you like more meat with your melon. If you cut a melon into six wedges, two slices of ham per wedge of melon would be a good start. Once you get a feel for fruit and meat, you might want to experiment with other combinations.

These ingredients are all very versatile and can be used in a variety of different ways. Be creative and experiment with your own puff pastry and prosciutto combinations.