Appetizers & Snacks/ Christmas/ puff pastry

Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

3 December 2021 | Last Updated: 20 March 2022 By Aleksandra

Puff Pastry Christmas Tree is a pretty and delicious savory Christmas appetizer. It’s easy to make and I’m sure everyone will like it. It’s made with just 2 main ingredients – puff pastry and basil pesto.

Puff pastry Christmas tree topped with tomatoes and basil on a piece of parchment paper.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this delicious appetizer:

Labeled ingredients for puff pastry Christmas tree.

Puff pastry – all-butter puff pastry will provide the best flavor, buy it if you can find it.

Basil walnut pesto – you can use store-bought basil pesto or make your own. Homemade pesto tastes so much better so I decided to make my own. I changed a bit my basic basil pesto recipe by adding walnuts instead of more traditional pine nuts and I added more cheese. Instead of basil pesto, you can also use other types of pesto such as parsley pesto (it will be more budget-friendly than basil pesto), arugula pesto, celery leaf pesto, spinach pesto. You will need about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of pesto for this recipe.

Other types of filling that can be used – you could also use a sweet filling, such as nutella or cinnamon sugar but I think green-colored filling works here best.

Decoration – is optional, but I think it looks pretty. I used cherry tomatoes, cut some stars out of gouda cheese slices, and piped cream cheese on top of the tree.

Step by step instructions

Basil pesto in food processor. A Christmas tree shape cut in a sheet of puff pastry.

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Make basil pesto (you can also use store-bought pesto): add all the ingredients for the pesto to a food processor and blend until it becomes a paste but it’s still a little bit chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put it in the fridge.

STEP 2: Take one sheet of puff pastry out of the fridge. Roll it out on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with flour into a rectangle about 1/8-inch (3-4mm) thick (mine was 10×15 inches (27x38cm) but it can have any dimensions as long as it’s a rectangle).

Cut a tree shape in the dough (just a triangle for the tree and a small square for the tree trunk, see photo 2 for a reference). You can do it freehand or cut out a template from a piece of parchment paper. Place the leftover scraps of the dough in the fridge.

TIP: If at any point your pastry becomes sticky and hard to work with, put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to chill.

A sheet of puff pastry in a shape of a tree topped with basil pesto.

STEP 3: Place your pastry with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread about 1/2 cup of pesto over the dough.

STEP 4: Take the second puff pastry sheet out of the fridge and roll it out exactly like the first one. Place it on top of the pastry with pesto. Cut out the same shape (it doesn’t have to be very precise). You don’t have to pinch both parts of the dough together. Reserve the scraps and put them in the fridge.

Puff pastry Christmas tree on a piece of parchment paper ready to be baked.

STEP 5: Now cut horizontal lines in the dough on the left and right side (“branches of the tree”), they should be about 3/4 to 1-inch (2 cm) apart. Do not cut in the middle of the tree from the top to bottom.

STEP 6: Twist each strip creating spirals.

STEP 7: How to use up the remaining dough: I cut out some stars from the dough using a star cookie cutter and baked them with the tree. You can place one star above the tree.

Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C) then reduce the temperature to 325°F (160°C) and bake for 10 minutes. Every oven bakes differently so keep an eye on the pastry at the end of the baking time making sure it’s not getting too dark.

Decorate your tree (optional): place cut in half tomatoes on the tree, pipe cream cheese stars using a star tip and a zip lock bag with a corner cut off, sprinkle with small basil leaves, and top with gouda cheese stars (cut out with a small star cookie cutter).

Enjoy!

Storage

How to store it: make sure the pastry is completely cooled then wrap it tightly in plastic foil. You can store it in the fridge for up to 2 days.

How to reheat it: bake the pastry for 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C). It will be a little bit softer at the bottom in comparison to a freshly-made one but it will be still quite crunchy. This is a good make-ahead option.

Top tips on working with puff pastry

  • Keep the puff pastry chilled. Take it out of the fridge only when you have all the other ingredients ready. It will be sticky and hard to work with when warm.
  • If at any point your puff pastry will be too soft and sticky just put it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Sprinkling the pastry with flour while rolling it out also helps.
  • All-butter puff pastry is more sticky than regular puff pastry made with shortening or palm fat (but it‘s so much tastier!).
  • If using frozen puff pastry it‘s better to thaw it in the fridge overnight instead of quickly thawing it on the counter – it can be prone to breaking.

More puff pastry appetizers

Here you can find all my puff pastry appetizers.

A child's hand is grabbing a piece of puff pastry Christmas tree.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Puff Pastry Christmas Tree (Christmas Tree Appetizer)

Puff Pastry Christmas Tree is a pretty and delicious savory Christmas appetizer. It’s easy to make and I’m sure everyone will like it. It’s made with just 2 main ingredients – puff pastry and basil pesto.
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Puff pastry Christmas tree on a piece of parchment paper.
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RATE THE RECIPE

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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 488kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the basil walnut pesto (or use 1/2 – 3/4 cup store-bought pesto):

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves (45g)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (67g)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (20g)
  • zest grated from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 60ml
  • salt and pepper to taste

pastry and decoration:

  • 2 sheets puff pastry 2×9.5 ounces or 270g or similar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • small basil leaves
  • 1 slice gouda

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • Make basil pesto (you can also use store-bought pesto): add all the ingredients for the pesto to a food processor and blend until it becomes a paste but it’s still a little bit chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put it in the fridge.
  • Take one sheet of puff pastry out of the fridge. Roll it out on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with flour into a rectangle about 1/8-inch (3-4mm) thick (mine was 10×15 inches (27x38cm) but it can have any dimensions as long as it’s a rectangle).
  • Cut a tree shape in the dough (just a triangle for the tree and a small square for the tree trunk, see photos in the body of the post for a reference). You can do it freehand or cut out a template from a piece of parchment paper. Place the leftover scraps of the dough in the fridge.
  • If at any point your pastry becomes sticky and hard to work with, put it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to chill.
  • Place your pastry with parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread about 1/2 cup of pesto over the dough.
  • Take the second puff pastry sheet out of the fridge and roll it out exactly like the first one. Place it on top of the pastry with pesto. Cut out the same shape (it doesn’t have to be very precise). You don’t have to pinch both parts of the dough together. Reserve the scraps and put them in the fridge.
  • Now cut horizontal lines in the dough on the left and right side (“branches of the tree”), they should be about 3/4 to 1-inch (2 cm) apart. Do not cut in the middle of the tree from the top to bottom.
  • Twist each strip creating spirals.
  • How to use up the remaining dough: I cut out some stars from the dough using a star cookie cutter and baked them with the tree. You can place one star above the tree.
  • Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C) then reduce the temperature to 325°F (160°C) and bake for 10 minutes. Every oven bakes differently so keep an eye on the pastry at the end of the baking time making sure it's not getting too dark.
  • Decorate your tree (optional): place cut in half tomatoes on the tree, pipe cream cheese stars using a star tip and a zip lock bag with a corner cut off, sprinkle with small basil leaves, and top with gouda cheese stars (cut out with a small star cookie cutter).
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Thaw your puff pastry in the fridge overnight. Make sure it’s cold before you start. Take it out of the fridge only if you have all your ingredients ready.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/8 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
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