10 Most Labor-Intensive Desserts

Palmiers are sometimes called Elephant Ears.
Palmiers are sometimes called Elephant Ears.
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If you used store-bought dough, this recipe would be so easy it wouldn't even come close to making our list. But what truly makes this dish a culinary nightmare is the laborious process of making puff pastry dough -- from scratch.

Soft and delicate, often with as much air inside as there is dough, puff pastries are tasty but can be a nightmare to produce. What makes them so light and flaky is precisely what makes them so complicated to create. The dough is repeatedly rolled and folded over on itself with pats of butter between layers, producing layer upon layer that separate with pockets of air when baked. The result is a light, airy texture that's all too easy to mess up if you don't get the steps right.

And let's not forget the most frustrating part of the puff pastry-making process: you have to keep the dough cold at all times. If it gets too warm the butter will melt into the dough and you'll lose the layered effect, so you might need to refrigerate the dough for 15 to 20 minutes after every couple of folds. That's right; roll, fold, chill and repeat in a process that can take several hours.

To turn puff pastry dough into a palmier, all you need to do is roll out the dough, smother it in sugar, roll up each side until it reaches the middle, cut into 2-inch slices and bake. The result is flaky, sugary and simply delicious.