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How to Make French Papillon: Step-By-Step

Only 2 ingredients needed for this buttery, caramelized delight.



"Papillon", French for 'butterfly', are crispy little folded pastries that are baked using puff pastry and a lot of sugar. They are typically serviced as a breakfast or brunch pastry. They have an irresistable caramelized sugar crunch that is the result of a hefty amount of sanding sugar and baking at a very high temperature. What I love about these is the beautiful presentation as a result of very minimal effort. There is hardly any preparation needed. They can be made last minute and. It takes no special skills to make the beautiful butterfly shape, and they bake relatively quickly. Also, no mixing bowls to clean. They are hard not to love! I'm including them in my holiday cookie and sweet series here, although they aren't necessarily seasonal or considered a cookie, but rather a pastry. Just a few easy steps and you will have a very impressive treat.


Yield: 8-10 pastries Chill time: 30 minutes-8 hours Baking time: 16 Minutes


  • Store-bought puff pastry

  • Granulated sugar- About 1 cup


  1. Remove your puff pastry from the box and allow it thaw to about room tempature so that you're able to roll it.

  2. Sprinkle sugar on your work surface (not flour) and unfold the puff pastry. Roll it into a long rectangle from your left to your right.

3. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over the rectangle. Take the end closest to you and fold it halfway up. Bring the top side halfway down also, the same as with the opposite end. The ends should touch, but not overlap.

4. Sprinkle more sugar. Next, you will take the end to your left and fold it up to meet the end on your right.

5. Sprinkle more sugar. Take the bottom edge (the edge close to you) and fold it up to meet the top (hotdog style)

6. Give the rectangle a firm press and wrap it in parchment or plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnightbefore slicing.

7. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment. Slice about 1/2" slices of the dough. I marked the image above with dotted lines showing which direction to cut, since I forgot to photograph it. Lay slices at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet, as they will spread significantly during the baking process. Sprinkle a handful of sugar over the tops and bottoms of the slices of pastry to ensure even browning and caramelization.

8. Bake for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees, making sure to flip the slices over at the 10 minute mark. After the first flip, allow them to bake for about 5 more minutes to brown the other side. The edges may get very dark, which is fine, but take care not to let them burn.

9. Allow them to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days or freeze them for a month to serve later. Enjoy!



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