These heart-shaped pastries are usually sweet treats, but our savory version is cheesy and peppery, with the special flaky texture characteristic of puff pastry. Make them for a Valentine’s Day party, or wrap them in a tin and give them to someone you love.
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Pecorino cheese
2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 package (17 oz.) frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed in the refrigerator and unfolded
In a bowl, toss together the cheese, dry mustard, cayenne and black pepper.
Working with 1 pastry sheet at a time, on a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the sheet into a 10-by-9 1/4-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with about 3/4 cup of the cheese mixture. Starting from a long side, lightly roll up the pastry, stopping at the midpoint of the sheet. Roll up the other long side the same way, to meet in the center. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet and 3/4 cup of the cheese mixture. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap, place on a baking sheet, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 pastry roll at a time, and using a thin, sharp knife, cut off and discard a thin slice from each end to form an even edge. Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. If the dough begins to feel too soft and unmanageable, just rewrap it and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Arrange the palmiers flat, 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese mixture, along with any cheese that has fallen out. Bake until the cheese melts and the pastry is crisp and golden outside and fully cooked inside, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 dozen small palmiers.