Meet Greg Henry, author of the culinary blog Sippity Sup – Serious Fun Food. Greg lives in Los Angeles and he is a former professional photographer who now entertains us with his delicious recipes and fun prose (he also has one of the best About pages I’ve ever read!). He is currently working on his first cookbook, Savory Pies, which will be published in November 2012.
My Edible City
Paris. My greatest association with that city are the boulangeries sprinkled throughout every neighborhood. What a joy it is to walk past these places inhale deeply and take a quick peek in the window at the array of delicious baked goods. There is no experience quite like it in America. Somehow we have grown into a carb-abhorrent, gluten-fearing mass. We have come see food as the enemy.
But not the Parisians, they embrace life and all its flavors, it seems to me. I am sure the reality is more complicated. But when I am in Paris I have very little interest in reality.
The first time I walked those streets it was the 1980s. I was quite young and a tad romantic; armed with just enough French to feel cocky I decided to conquer all the sights, sounds and yes, flavors I could in one brief two day visit. One of the first stops was indeed a boulangerie. Now, I was no patsy to the ways of French pastry. My mother had been making brioche at home since my childhood. But all the unusual bread shapes struck me: baton, bloomer, boule, epi, ficelle, fougasse, pistolets… the list seemed endless.
My Favorite Dish
Palmiers. On that first trip the treat I settled upon the simplest and most iconic of yeasty prodigies– a baguette sliced lengthwise and stuffed with gooey Camembert cheese. Oh my! What a sensation that was. But that is another story for another day.
Because I want to discuss another treat entirely. One with which I became acquainted on my second stop at an authentic Parisian boulangerie (which was about 20 minutes later than my first foray). Because one of the most visually stunning pastries to grace the windows of every boulangerie I passed was what I soon came to know as le palmier.
I spied it through the glass of the shop– sugar and cinnamon rolled between layers of the flakiest pastry you can imagine. It was bigger than my hand and caramelized to a crackly candy crunch! Of course there was the distinctive shape. Some say they resemble elephant ears. Some say the name comes from its resemblance to a palm frond. I say, who cares… may I have another s’il-vous-plaît?
- A recipe to make Palmiers (from Culinate) and another from The Kitchn
- Martha Stewart’s Palmier Cookies video
- Feel courageous? Make your own puff pastry, or try this “shortcut” version
- Discover Paris’ sweet side with David Lebovitz’ Paris Pastry Guide
- … Or learn all about the city’s best pastries and pastry chefs on Adam’s blog, Paris Pâtisseries
Next Week on Edible Cities
Next week, Mayssam, author of the food and travel blog Will Travel for Food, is taking us to New York. Don’t miss it!
Photo credits: Paris photo by Marie Asselin (Food Nouveau); Greg Henry’s photo by Greg Henry; palmiers photo from Wikipedia.