Cheese Papillons (Savory Puff Pastry Butterflies)

RECIPE: Cheesy Papillons
Cheesy Papillons

Cheesy Papillons

Nothing says party to make like puff pastry.  It sounds kind of retro kitsch, but there’s something about that crisp shatter of salty, flaky puff that is so indulgent, it can’t help but be a special occasion.

Instead of cheese straws, which have sort of been what they are forever, I make cheesy papillons—butterflies, or bowties.  I just press sea salt, grated Gruyère, and piment d’Espelette (for heat and some holiday coloring) into store-bought puff pastry, and use a fluted ravioli cutter to slice them into ribbons.  Then, I just twist in the center, and bake.  They puff up to huge, glorious, crispy, salty, cheesy Everests.  I serve them in baskets down the center of the table instead of bread.

I almost never have any of these leftover.  So I stash one away for myself.  It’s the happiest snack for doing the dishes.

Excerpted from my weekly column French in a Flash on Serious Eats.  Bon app!

Cheesy Papillons
makes about 20

Cheesy PapillonsINGREDIENTS

  • 2 puff pastry sheets (total: 17 ounces)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère
  • 1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Dust the countertop with some flour.  Unfold the puff pastry, dock lightly with a fork, and season with a generous pinch of sea salt.  Scatter 1 cup of cheese evenly over the top, and use a rolling pin to gently press it into the pastry.  Top with half of the piment d’Espelette.  Repeat with the second sheet of pastry and the remaining ingredients.  Then, use a ravioli cutter to slice the pastry in strips about 1-inch by 3 inches.  Twist each strip in the middle to form a bowtie.  Place, spaced out, on a Silpat-line baking sheet (you may need to do two batches).  Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Bakery, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian

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