Palm pastries--palmeras o palmeritas--are extremely popular in Spain. All of the bakery and pastry shops have them displayed in the windows, plain or covered with chocolate, and in most Spanish cities you can't walk more than a few blocks without passing a bakery or pastry shop. They're usually quite large--the size of a Hallmark card--and unlike the smaller, more delicate French-style pastries, which are also popular in Spain, they're enjoyed as street food.
As a girl, Ana's sister Marta would eat so many palm pastries that her uncle Rafael would warn her: "Girl, if you keep eating palmeras, you'll start making dates!"--meaning that she would transform into a date palm, for which the pastry is named.
I usually eat a chocolate-covered palm pastry on the second day of our trip to Madrid, just when the jet lag and altitude change begin to make me woozy. (Madrid's altitude is nearly 700 meters, and living in Central Florida, I'm used to sea level). A palmera de chocolate never fails to perk me up.
Palm pastries are basically strips of Spanish puff pastry--hojaldre--rolled up on either side into a heart shape. You can use regular French-style puff pastry or frozen puff pastry. In the near future I'll give a recipe for hojaldre with a palm oil base, which is what I used for these.
Here's how to do it:
one sheet of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
butter or oil for the pan
melted chocolate (if you'd like chocolate-covered palmeras)
Place the sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface. Brush it with beaten egg. Sprinkle it with sugar. Roll up the sheet from both sides, so the rolls meet in the middle
Slice the rolled puff pastry into pieces 3/8 inch (1 centimeter) thick.
Place the slices on a greased baking sheet.
Sprinkle them with sugar.
Bake them in a hot (500 degree) oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden, and cool them on a rack.
You can eat these as soon as they cool as they are or, as mentioned above, coated with chocolate. They're great with tea, coffee or hot chocolate at mid-morning or for the late afternoon snack--la merienda. They're also very good served with desserts such as strawberrries and cream or yogurt.