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Puff Pastry Christmas Tree Appetizer With Pesto

For many years now, my puff pastry Christmas trees have been a staple appetizer at all of my holiday season Christmas parties.

It’s easy to make, looks gorgeous on the serving platter, and always seems to disappear quickly!

pastry christmas tree with pesto

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Savory Christmas  tree shape appetizer 

The main ingredients for my puff pastry Christmas trees are pantry staples you likely already have on hand. 

You’ll need two sheets of store-bought puff pastry (you can make your own homemade puff pastry if you prefer and have time), homemade or store-bought basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, and dried oregano, and some olive oil or eggwash to give the shiny touch.

How to make Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

step 1 

To begin, prepare the basil pesto sauce by blending fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a food processor.  

Homemade pesto in a jar

You can also use the store-bought pesto. 

Step 2 

To make it easier, unroll the puff pastry directly into a baking sheet covered with a piece of parchment paper. I find rectangular puff pastry works best. 

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter to give the shape of a Christmas tree, cut a large triangle for the tree and a rectangle for the base, removing excess dough that you can use to make a star to place on top of the Christmas tree (I use a small star cookie cutter) and puff pastry sticks.

Rectangular puff pastry in the shape of a Christmas tree

Step 3

With the help of a knife, spread the pesto, leaving a very small gap at the edges.

Step 4

Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry laying it on top of the first, on which you have spread the pesto.

Using a pizza wheel or a knife, trace the shape of the tree by cutting off the excess dough.

Press the edges together gently to seal.

Step 5

Make the branches of the tree, cutting wide strips of thickness of 1.5 cm (like an index finger) on the right and left sides of the trunk, leaving the middle of the tree (the trunk) intact and without incisions.

Then comes the fun part! 

Proceed to twist each branch with a sharp movement, to form a “branch”. 

Take care to close well the end of each pinwheel with the two edges of the sheet touching, so that it does not open during cooking. 

Step 6

Once all the trees branch are shaped, add the star on the top of the tree.

Lightly brush the tops with beaten egg wash or oil.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and use them to decorate the tree, resembling ornaments. And finally, sprinkle with dried oregano. 

Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is deeply golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a platter.

 pesto puff pastry christmas trees

Tips for the best puff pastry Christmas tree appetizer

  • Work quickly and gently so the dough doesn’t warm up too much.
  • If the pastry becomes too soft while working with it, place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up.
  • Don’t overfill so the top sheet can properly adhere.
  • Prepare it directly on the baking sheet.

Idea for Toppings 

While pesto is my go-to filling, feel free to get creative with other fillings such as:

Savory filling options:

  • Ricotta and spinach
  • Ham and cheese
  • Cream cheese and salmon
  • Parma ham and parmesan cheese
  • Artichoke pesto
  • Red pesto
  • Feta and zucchini
  • Eggplant and cream cheese

Sweet:

  • Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread
  • Homemade strawberry preserves
  • Honey and Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Peanut Butter
  • Custard cream
  • White chocolate cream

This Christmas Tree Pastry can be sweet or savory, however you wish!

In the first case, it is well suited for a festive appetizer served with this French martini recipe Chambord cocktail; in the second, however, it can be served both at breakfast and as a dessert at the end of the meal with strawberry fruit dip.

Storage

Once cooled, the trees can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days. 

To reheat, simply pop them in a preheated 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes to refresh the flaky, just-baked texture. 

FAQ’s

Can I make the puff pastry tree ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the puff pastry tree ahead of time and store it in the fridge without baking.

When you’re ready to serve, simply bake it according to the instructions.

This way, you can save time and still enjoy a fresh and delicious appetizer.

Can I freeze the puff pastry tree?

Yes, you can freeze the assembled but unbaked puff pastry tree.

Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe container.

When you’re ready to bake, bake straight from frozen, adding a few more minutes of cooking time.

Can I make a vegan version of the puff pastry tree?

Absolutely! This recipe calls for basil pesto, which can be made as a vegan version.

Use olive oil instead of the egg wash.

However, you can customize the filling according to your preferences.

Try using sun-dried tomato pesto or roasted vegetable spread to create a delicious vegan version of the Christmas tree pastry.

pesto puff pastry Christmas trees –

An easy holiday appetizer

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Yield: 6

Christmas Tree Pastry with Pesto

christmas tree appetizer

A beautiful pesto tree for a super Christmas appetizer!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Sheets of puff pastry
  • 100g of Basil pesto (6tbsp)
  • 5 Cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Salt & oregano to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the Puff Pastry Tree, begin by rolling out a roll of puff pastry (ideally rectangular) on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, on which you will draw, cutting it with a knife, the shape of a tree including the base ( an isosceles triangle for the tree and a rectangle for the base).
  2. Lightly prick the puff pastry with a fork. This is to avoid the risk of the puff pastry puffing up. It is also useful to ensure uniform cooking.
  3. Stuff your tree with the pesto, spreading a light veil over the entire surface of the pastry sheet.
  4. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry laying it on top of the first, on which you have spread the pesto. Using a pizza wheel or a knife, trace the shape of the tree by cutting off the excess dough.
  5. Make the branches of the tree, cutting strips of thickness of 1.5 cm (like an index finger) on the right and left, leave the center (the trunk) intact and without incisions, 1.5 cm is fine.
  6. Proceed to twist each branch with a sharp movement, as if to form a "branch" taking care to close well the end of each pinwheel with the two edges of the sheet touching, so that it does not open during cooking.
  7. With the excess puff pastry, created a star to put on top of the tree.
  8. With a kitchen brush, brush the entire surface with olive oil and put a pinch of salt and oregano all over the surface of the tree.
  9. To decorate the puff pastry tree, use cherry tomatoes cut in half to create the tree balls.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. When it has reached the temperature, bake the tree, and let it cook for 20/25 minutes in the lower part of the oven.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 212mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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If you want more recipes for Christmas appetizers:

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Christine

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

I can't wait to make this for Christmas Eve! I did a trial run of the recipe this past weekend to make sure I could get it to turn out well and it was surprisingly easy for such a decorative and tasty display! I love pesto, so this is just perfect.

Giangi T.

Wednesday 6th of December 2023

I love the simplicity of this recipe and how beautiful it looked on my table. I prepared it last weekend for our holiday party and it was a great hit. Making it again this weekend. Lots of flavor and super easy to make, the best combination at this time of year. Thank you.

Angie

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

That's wonderful to hear! I'm so glad that the Puff Pastry Christmas Tree Appetizer with Pesto was a hit at your holiday party. It's always great to find a recipe that is both delicious and visually appealing. I hope you have a great time making it again this weekend. Happy holidays!

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