Friday, April 17, 2009

Le Palmier

Boulangerie de Palmier, original art, 5" x 7"French Girl says I do not pronounce "palmier" correctly.

Who cares!? I've been eating 'elephant ears' since I was a kid. True they don't look much like an elephant's ear.

Nor do they look much like a 'pig's ear'.

 What this classic pastry has to do with a "palm tree" is a mystery?

 I decided to do serious research on the French palmier - pronounced palm-me-ay or FG's version: "palmi-é"
This lush baby comes from

Adorable patisserie/restaurant, Coquelicot in Montmartre.

Patisserie Carette makes a rafinee palmier

As does this no-name boulangerie.

On rue de Rennes, 75006.

Patisserie Stohrer on 51, rue Montorgueil, 75001 sells golden palmiers.

Paris' best ice cream-maker, Berthillon makes palmier.

At Bonbonniere de Buci on rue de Buci, 75005.

There's no way to make a proper palmier without tons of butter.

Le Moulin de la Vierge blasts the fact right on their windows - Dr. Pritikin would have a cardiac infarction on the spot.

This humble palmier comes from not so humble Patisserie Jean Millet - 103, rue St. Dominque, 75007

A mystery palmier, but it looks darn good - crispy, crunchy, thinly delicate. I hope you've gained a bit of visual insight into how a good palmier should look. Did I eat any of my research subjects you ask? I did not. I've moved on to the chaussons aux pomme (an apple pocket only the French do right.

FYI: you will never find a palmier in a Metro snack dispensers, but there are plenty of madeleines. Do you have a fav Paris pastry I should research?
Do tell!


  1. I don't have a favorite place to have my palmier, but I'm sure that now, afetr reading your post, I feel like eating one of these delicious palmiers!Miam,miam!

  2. Oooh, perhaps it's time for more extensive research on the "religieuse"? So many styles, colors, designs and flavors!

  3. Delightful & charming watercolor! It looks so warm & welcoming inside the shop! I can practically smell the baked goods from here!

  4. ALL pastries are my favorite!
    I think you could fill a croissant with ants and I'd eat it...

    I think what I love most about the palmiers and other flaky, flaky pastries is how it is crunchy and soft at the same time, light and dense at the same time, sweet and a little teeny bit salty at the same time....perfect!

  5. I did do a post or two on the religieuse...
    The problem is it's not in every pastry shop...and rather limited to the high end joints..ahem

  6. Elizabeth10:57 AM

    May I suggest a case study on "flan pâtissier" ? A very classical and simple pastry, but so georgous.
    Did you ever try the one from Poilâne at Rue du Vieux Colombier ?

  7. Anonymous11:03 AM

    The story I heard is that palmiers were fashioned in the shape of nuns skirts - of course I have no research to support it although I did find one mention of palmiers as nuns ummm..."poofs"! To me they mean PARIS! Thanks for your wonderful blog - it makes me happy every morning.

  8. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Oh yes, please! Pain chocolat!
    Over here in the US they have completely changed their name to chocolate croissant :-(
    I have almost forgotten how they SHOULD taste, and think that last time we were in Paris they were not as lush and luscious chocolate-y, perfectly balanced with flaky pastry, as the pain chocolats of my memory.
    Could you sacrifice yourself and do the research?
    I don't know how to sign myself since I have none of the drop-down menu accounts, but I am
    Berkshire Tsarina

  9. Interesting...
    Figero has one of their Best of Flans competition onlineI am not a flan-eater sadly-too much like pudding for moi :(
    What to do???

  10. Have you been to the Musée Marmottan? I'm sure you have. Getting off at metro La Muette, and walking along Chaussée de la Muette, you will see a nicefew cafés and a patisserie where I saw, and tasted! some lovely religieux (sp?) and it didn't seem trés cher. Ah, now there's a research project pour moi-researching moins cher patisseries. :-)

  11. from a Frenchie...11:23 AM

    hummm ... dommage re: the flan as we say in French. Anyway thank you so much for your blog. I love to have your american point of view on our French habits (et travers (failing in English)) and customs !... so refreshing and often funny. Pls don't stop !

  12. hmmm...Pain au chocolat!
    The best of both worlds = butter+chocolate
    Bonne idee!
    A la prochaine as they say :)
    It could be soon too...hint..hint

  13. Actually I love gauffres but perhaps they are Belgian. What about Napoleons? Are they French? What about tarte aux cerises?

  14. That's a charming watercolor, Carol. I love those palmiers. They're delicious. Anything with butter in it is delicious, let's face it. I never met a pastry I didn't like. I have a terrible sweet tooth. I love foods that are good for me, but I have to have dessert.

  15. Mona-There are French gauffres and they ARE different but hard to find.
    There's a guy in the Marais in the street that a friend sent me to and WOWZA!

    Now the Eclair could do with some careful study even though I'm not big on pastry cream...Fauchon here I come!!

  16. Mellissa12:46 PM

    My daughter and I would like the details on pain au chocolat - our favorite here in CA. We're looking forward to our first trip to Paris (and London) in the fall.

  17. ECLAIRS!!!!! :)

  18. Robynn in Paris1:41 PM

    I've actually never tried a palmier, but there's a Le Moulin de la Vierge in Villiers (near my metro stop) so I will have to try it - and then hit the gym afterwards! Thanks for the tip!

  19. My definite vote goes to FINANCIERS!! And the absolute best are at the bakery at St. Philippe du Roule! Hands down. Also: "pain gêne" I think it's called. Same idea: pound cake ("quatre quart") with almond flavor. PS: you might be appalled to know that the bakery Le Coqueliquot is under renovation. Why? one asks.

  20. Kethrim3:35 PM

    The patisserie on rue de Rennes is my patisserie! I went there so often for lunch, the ladies who work there are always so pleasant and wonderful, and the pastries and sandwiches are some of the best I've had.

  21. j'adore les palmiers!!!


  22. Love the painting!
    My God, that stuff looks rich!

  23. Oui, s'il vous plait, les pain aux chocolats!!

  24. ah...My favorite: the palmier!

  25. How about just the simle, classic croissant? Love those!

  26. Candice6:39 PM

    Mais Oui!
    One of my favorites is the Paris Brest. I've had many in Paris, but the best ones I've had are served at Allard Restaurant in the 6th. Address: 41, Rue St André des Arts. Metro Stop: Odeon
    They probably don't make them in-house, so I'd love to know which patisserie they buy them from!

  27. i think Palmiers were invented for kidlets. Like what my grandma did with left over pie dough. I make palmier with mustard, ham and parmesan.

  28. Kethrim - last trip was the first time I dared to enter the rue de Rennes boulangerie-it's too beautiful. But I loved the apple chausson I got. Now I will definitely go back!
    Robynn in Paris - please report back on your first palmier ever!!!

  29. J'adore les palmiers aussi...but have you tried chouquettes?!!
    oooh la la!

  30. I love Palmier but you need a bib on to eat it, they are so messy. My favourite is a vanilla custard slice (forgot the French name) they are fabulous and the pastry on the bottom is just like palmier. I will have to go and wipe the drool from my chin now :)

  31. OMG cowgirl chef - chouquettes?!!sooooooooooo I dare tell...

  32. I live in Sweden but I dream Parisdreams too..:)


  33. Mmmmm...I love those! I have loved those since I was kid.

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  35. Anonymous3:55 AM

    I love your new (to's be awhile since I'd visited...too long) style with the watercolors. I'd love to know what you're using to make the dark lines -- is that ink? Are you using a brush pen? Love it!!!

  36. Merci de ce beau déjeuner!

  37. Yummmmm, they're so good! Liking your new style, as well!

  38. Since you're finished with them, feel free to cross my palm with a palmier any time! Seriously, we have great pahl-me-ays here - at a swiss bakery!

  39. Thought I had commented but guess I forgot to.
    Thats another wonderful painting. and I have had those Palmiers. Yummmm. Hope you had a great weekend.

  40. It's good to see you back to covering Paris/French food!

  41. I love those big sugar cookies that are called lunettes, glasses. You know, too holes filled with confiture. I'd love you to find more about this wondrous treat!

  42. Can I have the one in white behind the counter? Yum!

  43. Hi Parisbreafast! I usually follow your blog as I find it really lovely! Your watercolours are gorgeous! Since you have written about "Le Palmier" I made up my mind to leave you a comment. They are one of my favourite "non-homemade" pâtisserie, especially when they are covered with real chocolate, as you can find them here in Spain. We also call them "Palmiers" ("Palmeras" in Spanish) and I imagine that's because their ressemblance with palm-trees leaves. I hope that clears up your doubt ;-)
    Congratulations for your blog, and thank you for sharing your gift with us! xxNat:)

  44. Yes! My favorite is the Viennoise aux peppites, although I believe there are several names for it.
    I think that its brioche dough, its in the shape of a demi baguette and it has chocolate chips.
    Also, I've heard that the word viennoiserie comes from Marie Antoinette, the Venitian who was known for her indulgence in sweets. Research into that word and what it means would be fun.

  45. Balthazar in NY has a really good chasson aux pommes and there is a little La Fougasse place in the marais down the street from the Enfants Rouge that has the BEST chasson aux pommes I've ever had.

  46. Great post ! A reader on my Paris blog mentioned the Planier today and i commented that I'd missed those altogether in Paris and had no idea what they were. Another reader sent me your post via emai. Well now I know. Buerre is such a good thing!

    I personally swoon over a good pain au chocolat and my two grandchildren that were with me in Paris this summer loved the escargot......pastry version. A twisted snail shaped pastry dotted with chocolate pieces. The ones we bought at the Franprix suited them just fine , but they preferred the ones from the patiisserie on the corner.


  47. When I was in France I went into one of many boulangeries and ordered a Palmier. I pronounced it "pal-me-ay" and the person helping me said "Non. pal-mee". He was very friendly and very helpful. Have I been pronouncing it wrong the whole time? Like you, I guess it doesn't matter, they are so good and as long as I get one, I am happy. :) Also a French friend said that outside of Paris, no one calls a "pain au chocolat" a "pain au chocolat"--it is called chocolatine. Learn something new every day! ;) ps--don't even get my started on Kouign Amann. Love.


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