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Anna N

Help with savory palmiers

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Anna N   

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 I was hoping to amuse my daughter and her friends with some savory palmiers. I assembled them yesterday and they have been in the refrigerator overnight. I used store-bought  puff pastry and the filling  is caramelized onion, bacon and a combination of cheddar and Gruyere.  I carefully cooked and drained the onion and the bacon. As you can see from the photo, I hope, there has been no expansion of the puff pastry  into the usual elephant ear form that I'm accustomed to seeing when I make sweet palmiers.  They were baked at 425°F for 12 mins with the tray being  given a 180° turn the six minute mark. 

 There are two rolls of these still in my refrigerator. Is there anything I can do to improve the situation?  Thanks. 

 

 

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teonzo   

The inclusion (onion + bacon + cheese) is an obstacle to the formation of the natural shape of palmiers, so don't expect to be able to get a perfect result as with standard palmiers.

Having said that, those in the photo are undercooked, meaning they need a higher oven temperature. 425°F should be ok in theory, so I'm guessing the 425°F mark on your oven does not give a real 425°F internal temperature. I would suggest to raise the temperature to the 450°F mark and turn on the convection fan (if your oven has it). Try to check the internal temperature with an oven thermometer.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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The onion and cheeses contain water which is not helping. It also appears that the cut was not good.

 

I think you are trying to add too much. Bacon bits alone would probably work. Dehydrated onion confit would probably work. Cheese powder would probably work.

 

If you still want gooey cheese plus onions and bacon, consider doing turnovers instead. -And egg wash the interiors before adding the filling.

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Anna N   
1 minute ago, Lisa Shock said:

The onion and cheeses contain water which is not helping. It also appears that the cut was not good.

 

I think you are trying to add too much. Bacon bits alone would probably work. Dehydrated onion confit would probably work. Cheese powder would probably work.

 

If you still want gooey cheese plus onions and bacon, consider doing turnovers instead. -And egg wash the interiors before adding the filling.

Thank you and perhaps next time that will be ideal but right now I'm trying to rescue the two rolls that I do have. 

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Can you unroll the unbaked ones and bake them with the toppings on top like a pizza? (or cut into wedges) This way, the moisture will be driven up and away from the pastry.

 

I'd re-bake the cooked ones, maybe even cut them into crouton sized chunks to encourage any residual rise.

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Anna N   
3 hours ago, teonzo said:

The inclusion (onion + bacon + cheese) is an obstacle to the formation of the natural shape of palmiers, so don't expect to be able to get a perfect result as with standard palmiers.

Having said that, those in the photo are undercooked, meaning they need a higher oven temperature. 425°F should be ok in theory, so I'm guessing the 425°F mark on your oven does not give a real 425°F internal temperature. I would suggest to raise the temperature to the 450°F mark and turn on the convection fan (if your oven has it). Try to check the internal temperature with an oven thermometer.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 The oven temperature is correct.  I will try a couple with the convection fan going and see if that improves the situation. Thank you.

 

Here  is the recipe I followed minus the horseradish.  I suspect I rolled them much too tightly!

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TicTac   

I was going to say....perhaps it was just a bit tight.  From what I can see, it does appear to be slightly compressed.  I would also distribute the filling more evenly and perhaps in greater quantity so that there is even distribution between layers.

 

You are adventurous in your double roll technique!  I typically just roll up the entire sheet and slice 'em up!

 

 

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teonzo   

I wouldn't say the problem is due to rolling them tightly. The outer "sheet" of puff pustry cooked at half: the exterior half cooked, the interior half did not cook and remained "melted" (it's translucent, layers did not form properly). Properly cooked puff pastry is golden brown, the ones in the photo are pale. Both these details are signs of undercooked puff pastry.

Good thing that the oven temperature is correct, but it's not everything (every oven is a different beast and blabla). The main thing is how heat is transferred to the food, temperature is only one of many factors to this. Puff pastry needs a huge initial heat kick to cook properly, otherwise it "melts" (becomes trasnlucent and you don't see the mini-layers forming) and remains pale. The only way to solve this is to give a higher heat kick, both raising temperature and turning on the convection fan if possible. With puff pastry the big problems happen when the temperature (or better, the transferred heat) is lower than ideal, not when it's higher. If it's lower, it does not cook properly and you can't save it; if it's higher (within certain limits), it just cooks faster.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Anna N   
13 minutes ago, teonzo said:

I wouldn't say the problem is due to rolling them tightly. The outer "sheet" of puff pustry cooked at half: the exterior half cooked, the interior half did not cook and remained "melted" (it's translucent, layers did not form properly). Properly cooked puff pastry is golden brown, the ones in the photo are pale. Both these details are signs of undercooked puff pastry.

Good thing that the oven temperature is correct, but it's not everything (every oven is a different beast and blabla). The main thing is how heat is transferred to the food, temperature is only one of many factors to this. Puff pastry needs a huge initial heat kick to cook properly, otherwise it "melts" (becomes trasnlucent and you don't see the mini-layers forming) and remains pale. The only way to solve this is to give a higher heat kick, both raising temperature and turning on the convection fan if possible. With puff pastry the big problems happen when the temperature (or better, the transferred heat) is lower than ideal, not when it's higher. If it's lower, it does not cook properly and you can't save it; if it's higher (within certain limits), it just cooks faster.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo,

 I have recently tested  my oven temperature and it was spot on. But I have great faith in you and your advice so I could see no harm in checking it again. It does indeed get to be spot on but not when it is supposedly preheated!   It takes much longer than that to reach its set temperature. So apparently part of the problem at least is that my oven needs time to reach the appropriate temperature for baking the palmiers. 

 I have spent a good part of today researching recipes and watching YouTube videos and there is no real reason why mine should not work out perfectly. 

 Tomorrow when it is time to put them in the oven I will wait until the thermometer tells me that it has actually reached temperature and I believe I will have much greater success.  Thank you for your insight. 

 

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JohnT   

I would set the oven to 450°F and let it come properly to that temperature for 10 minutes. Then quickly place your palmiers in the chamber and turn your thermostat down to 425°. This should ensure that the heat loss from opening the oven door is not too great. Also, use the fan and ensure the vent is open if your oven has an adjustable vent. Teo is correct when saying the pastry appears undercooked in your photograph.

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Anna N   

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Thanks everyone. Much better. The oven was definitely hot because I had baked bread in it before I put these in there!  

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Anna N   
Posted (edited)

 I am adding an addendum. Last night my granddaughter asked me to make something for a bake sale. I decided on cinnamon elephant ears. I preheated my oven at least as long as I did yesterday.   Foolishly, I did not check the temperature. The elephant ears were a complete disaster.  I then spent many hours trying to figure out what was happening with my oven.  I am no wiser. Sometimes it reaches some temperature sometimes it's 150°F lower than it should be. Seems to be much worse if I use convection bake than if I use it without the fan.  It has always been so reliable and trustworthy that I am quite devastated.   I have quickly made a batch of brownies for her using my Breville Smart Oven. 


Edited by Anna N (log)

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JohnT   

@Anna N It sounds like your thermostat is faulty from your note above. Realistically, your temperature should be a lot more even using the oven in convection or fan mode.

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Anna N   

 I suspect you are right. I am going to sleep on it tonight and then decide what I am going to do. I have two other countertop ovens  so I may decide that getting the large oven repaired will have to wait until other priorities are met. I will first, of course, do a little research to see if there is an easy fix. Thanks. 

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teonzo   

150° F is way too much, as @JohnT wrote then most probably it's a thermostat issue.

 

But beware that an oven can be pretty tricky. Temperature fluctuactions are a given, if you set your oven at 400° F then you must anticipate it will fluctuate between 380° F and 420° F,  fluctuation can be even bigger. Oven thermostats are set to work within a relatively wide range, meaning the heating mechanism will be activated when the temperature goes below X and then deactivated when the temperature reaches Y. The difference between X and Y can be more than 40° F, it has no sense for a domestic oven to be more precise, otherwise the oven will be on and off every few seconds. This means that if you set the temperature at 400° F and keep a thermometer inside the oven, you will see it fluctuating in a relatively wide range, it's pretty normal. So it is pretty normal that you set the temperature at 400° F and you check with a thermometer at a given moment, then you can get differences of 40° F or even more. If the difference is 150° F, well, then it's not normal.

There can be other troubles. One depends on where the thermostat is placed. Depending on its position, the difference for the real temperature when you use it with or without the fan can be quite big. If you turn it on with the fan and set it at 400° F, then the next time you turn it on without the fan (always set at 400° F and starting from a cold oven), then when the thermostat goes off for the first time you can get a difference of more than 50° F, I would say 80° F is still normal. It just depends on how near the thermostat is to the heating system and the fan.

 

When you cook puff pustry the goal is to give it a huge kick at the first minutes of cooking. If the puff pustry does not get that kick, then it's ruined, there's nothing to save it. It's much better to cook puff pastry at 500° F than at 350° F. So your aim is to get a HOT oven, then reduce the cooking times (or the temperature) if needed. Looking at your last photo of savoury palmiers, they came ok, but they were cooked at the lowest end of the correct temperature window. This means that if the oven was 20° F cooler then you would have incurred in some undercooked puff pastry. If you cooked those palmiers at 50° F higher then you would have got a better result. Cooking puff pastry is counter-intuitive: for almost all the other uses it's better to not go higher about temperatures, for puff pastry it's the opposite. It's better to err with higher temperatures, you don't ruin puff pastry if you cook it at 500-520° F. You ruin it if you cook it at 350°F.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Anna N   

 Thanks, Teo. I have had many ovens that varied by 50 or more degrees from the set temperature and learned to compensate. But this is very different. For it to drop from 450° to 325° is another order of magnitude than what I'm accustomed to.  There is definitely something very wrong with this oven. 

 

 I think I now have a fairly good understanding of what puff pastry needs to reach its potential thanks to your to your patient explanations. 

 

 I intend to find some more puff pastry as soon as I can and attempt to cook it in one of my countertop ovens. 

 

 In the end, teenagers being teenagers. I did get a text from my granddaughter saying all the extremely defective elephant ear cookies had been devoured in short order!  

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