Cheesy Papillons Recipe

French in a Flash

Quick and easy recipes that prove that great French food doesn't require a tall hat and a fancy kitchen.

Cheesy Papillons Recipe

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

I love these giant butterflies of crispy, salty, cheesy puff pastry. I just press sea salt, Gruyère, and piment d'Espelette onto store-bought puff pastry, slice it into ribbons, then twist the ribbons into bowties. Out they come, huge, puffed up proudly with steam, and coated in a crunchy layer of gratinated cheese. Serve them in baskets for dinner instead of bread.

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  • Yield:makes approximately 20
  • Active time: 5 minutes
  • Total time:25 minutes


  • Flour
  • 2 puff pastry sheets (17 ounces total)
  • Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 400°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.

  2. 2.

    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.

  3. 3.

    Place strips, spaced out, on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet (you may need to do this in two batches). Bake until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.